Wednesday 2 September 1992

Building Code Act, 1992


*Chair / Président: Beer, Charles (York North/-Nord L)

*Vice-Chair / Vice-Président: Daigeler, Hans (Nepean L)

Drainville, Dennis (Victoria-Haliburton ND)

Fawcett, Joan M. (Northumberland L)

Martin, Tony (Sault Ste Marie ND)

Mathyssen, Irene (Middlesex ND)

*O'Neill, Yvonne (Ottawa-Rideau L)

Owens, Stephen (Scarborough Centre ND)

*White, Drummond (Durham Centre ND)

*Wilson, Gary (Kingston and The Islands/Kingston et Les Îles ND)

Wilson, Jim (Simcoe West/-Ouest PC)

Witmer, Elizabeth (Waterloo North/-Nord PC)

Substitutions / Membres remplaçants:

*Hansen, Ron (Lincoln ND) for Mr Drainville

*Harrington, Margaret H. (Niagara Falls ND) for Mr Martin

*Lessard, Wayne (Windsor-Walkerville ND) for Mrs Mathyssen

*Marland, Margaret (Mississauga South/-Sud PC) for Mrs Witmer

*Perruzza, Anthony (Downsview ND) for Mr Owens

*Poole, Dianne (Eglinton L) for Mrs Fawcett

*Tilson, David (Dufferin-Peel PC) for Mr Jim Wilson

*In attendance / présents

Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes:

Margaret H. Harrington, parliamentary assistant to the minister of Housing

George Wildish, special assistant to the director, Ontario buildings branch, Ministry of Housing

Alexandra Samuel, executive assistant to Ms Harrington

Clerk / Greffière: Mellor, Lynn

The committee met at 1412 in room 228.


Consideration of Bill 112, An Act to revise the Building Code Act / Loi révisant la Loi sur le code du bâtiment.

The Chair (Mr Charles Beer): I now call to order the standing committee on social development. We're here to consider Bill 112, An Act to revise the Building Code Act.

Before we get into the substance of it, I wonder if I might, on behalf of all members of the committee, Margaret, extend through you to your son, Robert, our congratulations on winning a gold medal. I can't speak for everybody, but I know I watched not the live performance but certainly saw the rerun, and saw your son being interviewed several times. I think it made it all a little more special knowing that here was the son of one of our legislative colleagues. I know we had a chance before they went over to wish him well, but I just thought it would be fun today to say "Congratulations."

Mrs Margaret Marland (Mississauga South): Oh, dear. Thank you. I appreciate those comments very much, Mr Chairman, and Robert, if he were here, would tell you that they were very much aware of all the support for all the Olympic athletes that came from home, and the good wishes that were extended to him in the Legislature meant a great deal to him to have that kind of support. I just think it's so important as colleagues in the House that we do have opportunities for things that transcend our political caucus positions, and it has meant a great deal to me from all of you. Thank you very much.

The Chair: Well, it was a very exciting race.

Mrs Marland: I don't have any nails left.

The Chair: Our task, which is perhaps not quite as Olympian, this afternoon is to begin review of this bill. If I could just say, on your program for tomorrow there's been one cancellation. The organization that was to come at 3:30, the Toronto-Central Ontario Building and Construction Trades Council, has informed us today it will not be coming. We will do everything we can to move the group at 4 up, just to make our time a little more coherent, but they will not be coming.

This afternoon, as you can see from your schedule, we have two presentations, one by Margaret Harrington, the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Housing, and the other by George Wildish, who's the special assistant to the director, Ontario buildings branch. I wonder if I might suggest that we have both those presentations and then reserve our questions until both are finished. That might be a more effective way to proceed, if that's agreeable with everyone.

I'd like to welcome the parliamentary assistant on September 2, on a day that looks like summer. I have to just mention that -- got to get on the record somewhere that we didn't have summer but here we are. The fall is upon us and we're pleased you could be here, and if you would like to begin your presentation.

Ms Margaret H. Harrington (Niagara Falls): Thank you very much, Mr Chair and members of committee, for this opportunity to speak to you about Bill 112, which is now before this committee.

The reasons behind this initiative to revise the Building Code Act are quite straightforward. The Building Code Act that we have on the books today was introduced in 1974. In the nearly 20 years since the act was passed and especially in the nine years since the last amendment there has been a great deal of change in the building industry. These changes are reflected both provincially and worldwide. They include changes in building style, design and technology and also the introduction of new types of construction materials. They include changes in society's outlook, such as the need for resource and energy conservation.

In fact, these changes have spurred a new set of expectations from both the building industry and the public. For example, people want new buildings to be energy-efficient and builders want a flexibility to introduce less expensive, more efficient building materials. In short, the purpose of this act is to update and streamline the legislation, and it certainly has been requested by the industry for some time.

I would like to mention to you that when I sat on Niagara Falls city council I was on the BILDC, which is the building industry liaison development committee, consisting of city hall staff plus the lawyers, developers and construction trades people. They were trying to streamline the process at that point, and I can tell you, this building code update is most anxiously awaited by the city of Niagara Falls and its chief building official, Murray Johnston. He was very familiar with Bill 103, which is the predecessor of this bill, and he calls this the daughter of Bill 103. He called it the son of Bill 103, but I told him this was, in fact, the daughter of Bill 103.

I want to point out that this is what we call enabling legislation, which sets the framework for the building code of Ontario. As you can see here, we have the building code plus the guide to the building code. This legislation does not set the regulations in the code; these are set over time and also with consultation with all the stakeholders, and certainly you can be part of that process.

As members know, this bill received second reading on June 24. At that time the members brought up some valid concerns about one of the building regulations in particular that you may recall from that evening. It was the use of ungraded lumber for farm buildings. As I recall, it did go on for about two hours on that matter. Although strictly speaking it is an issue for the code and not this bill, it is an important matter, so I would like to take a moment to update the committee.

In consultation with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, we have clarified the provision in the building code concerning the use of ungraded lumber. Ungraded lumber will be permitted to be used for the construction of small farm buildings. There was a press release -- I have a copy here -- that went out at the end of July. I have notified opposition members who were most anxious about this in July, and they seemed pleased.

At the same time, with regard to this regulation, we are doing more to ensure that structural and fire safety standards are met for farm buildings. We provide courses in lumber grading for building officials, sawmill operators and rural residents. Finally, we are developing building code specifications for lumber sizes and spans specifically for farm buildings.


The solution to the ungraded lumber issue illustrates our regulatory philosophy. We want to make things easier for people and promote economic activity. As well, we must ensure that construction in Ontario meets adequate health and safety standards and measures up in areas of energy efficiency and resource conservation. Examples of this, of course, that you've heard of are low-flow toilets and energy-efficient showerheads.

Bill 112 strives for a balance between the need for a regulatory system that ensures essential health and safety standards and the need to have a system responsive to today's values and technological capabilities. Such a balance requires more than purely preventive laws. There is a need to look at the future by maintaining our present built stock at today's standards.

This bill will establish that balance. It will enable the introduction of safe, innovative, cost-effective building materials and construction techniques. It will allow the use of less expensive, but safe, new building materials, thus encouraging competitiveness. It will place a much higher priority on energy efficiency and resource conservation. It will make possible the gradual development of uniform maintenance standards for our existing buildings, including our affordable rental units.

I would like to underline the objectives of promoting resource conservation and energy efficiency and ensuring good maintenance standards in our existing buildings. The existing built stock is certainly a major asset in our society. Its proper maintenance, preservation and safety, both for users and passersby, should be an important goal. Bill 112 addresses these concerns.

I thank Ms Poole. If I remember back to the night of June 24, she provided a thorough examination of the bill's main points during second reading, and I'd like to review those highlights for you.

First, the bill provides assistance to the building industry by enabling the acceleration of the building process. It will allow municipal officials to issue conditional building permits and ultimately this will benefit the consumers, both the home owners and the renters. This will allow preliminary construction to proceed as long as the zoning and other critical approvals have been obtained. The remaining approvals must be obtained as construction proceeds.

Second, as part of our streamlining objective the plumbing code will be transferred from the Ontario Water Resources Act to the Building Code Act, and I think everyone realizes that plumbing is certainly part of building.

Third, the proposed changes enable the establishment of a comprehensive standard for existing buildings in such areas as maintenance and resource conservation. These standards will be developed -- they are not now -- over a period of time and in consultation with the key stakeholders.

Fourth, the bill will enable the chief building official of a municipality to permit the use of equivalent materials, techniques and construction systems which are not now authorized. Of course, these must have the same level of safety and performance as the materials, techniques and systems approved under the current building code.

Fifth, it will enable the Minister of Housing to issue rulings approving the use of innovative materials which have been evaluated by recognized institutions. An example of this is the Canadian Construction Materials Centre.

The sixth highlight is expanding the definition of "unsafe" to include situations where the public is put at risk. As the law now stands, for instance, a building inspector can't declare a building unsafe where pedestrians outside the building are in danger of being hit by something falling from the building.

Seventh, from the same safety point of view, the bill seeks to increase the powers of the chief building official to take immediate action to terminate a danger in an emergency situation.

Eighth, the bill will permit a building inspector to obtain a search warrant more easily and that is without the current requirement of an intention to seize evidence of an offence.

Mrs Marland: Excuse me, Mr Chairman.

The Chair: Yes, Mrs Marland?

Mrs Marland: It's difficult not being able to follow Ms Harrington. I can follow her beautifully audibly, but when it comes to making sensible comments or having questions, it's very difficult not having a copy in front of me of what it is you're reading.

The Chair: There are copies coming and I believe they will be here shortly.

Mr David Tilson (Dufferin-Peel): By the time the speech is over.

Mrs Marland: It's unusual that we wouldn't have them.

The Chair: I appreciate that.

Mrs Marland: Why don't we wait?

Ms Harrington: I'm almost finished. I had asked about that, whether there should be copies available to you.

Mrs Marland: What were you told?

Ms Harrington: I had thought it was part of the way things worked, actually. Maybe to help you out, on the inside --

The Chair: Here they are. Can we just pause then while the copies are --

Ms Harrington: The 10 points are on the inside cover of the bill, actually.

Mrs Marland: Okay. If I had known you were reading from that --

The Chair: We'll just take a moment.

Ms Harrington: I'm on page 14.

The Chair: We're on page 14, members. I think everyone now has a copy, so please continue.

Ms Harrington: I'll start at the top.

Eighth, the bill will permit a building inspector to obtain a search warrant without the current requirement of an intention to actually seize evidence of an offence. This will certainly be of help to inspectors.

Ninth -- again a safety measure -- a permit will have to be obtained to change the type of use of a building, even if no construction is proposed, if the change actually increases the hazard level. For example, if a house is converted to a restaurant, that often means installing potentially hazardous, large stoves and exhaust systems which may be very heavy and therefore affect the flooring and that type of thing.

Finally, this bill deals with enforcement of building code regulations.

It increases the fines for contravention of the act and code for the first time in 17 years. In the case of an individual, the maximum fine for a first offence rises to $25,000 and for subsequent offences $50,000. For corporations, the fines are significantly higher: $50,000 for the first offence and $100,000 for subsequent offences. Imprisonment as a penalty will be removed.

As my colleague Margaret Marland pointed out during our second reading debate, this is a great improvement over the current situation in which inadequate fines are regarded as part of the cost of doing business.

As I have said, this bill seeks to bring the building regulation system in line with today's realities. It addresses major concerns of the people directly involved with building standards. These people are the building industry professionals, the architects, engineers, contractors, interior designers, people in the building trades and builders and developers -- and I should tell you I have met with most of the organizations representing these professionals -- people who own buildings and people who work and live in them, the municipal building officials and councillors and other levels of government and regulatory agencies. There has been an extensive consultation process with these groups.

To summarize, Bill 112 will lead to a more efficient and streamlined building regulatory system, and the improvements contained in this legislation are a direct result of this process of discussion, and, as I mentioned before, also Bill 103.


This legislation is part of a commitment to the use of innovative building materials and techniques to produce better buildings at less cost. It also aims to make housing more affordable to people by making the building industry more productive and more competitive.

This legislation is eagerly awaited. All parties, I believe, do not want to delay any further.

By its very nature, this bill has also to deal with technicalities. At this point, I am asking Mr George Wildish of the Ontario buildings branch to deal with some of the details of the technical aspects of the bill.

As I say in my little paper here, I would be happy to answer questions first, but it's up to you, Mr Chair.

The Chair: Thank you very much. We had asked, at the outset, if perhaps we would do both presentations and then deal with comments by the two critics and questions, and people had agreed to that. Therefore, I'd like to ask Mr Wildish if he would go forward with his presentation.

If I might, then, Ms Poole and Mrs Marland, when that is finished, I would turn to you first as the two critics for any comments and/or questions that you'd like to lead off with.

I believe everybody has a copy of his presentation? Okay? Fine.

Mr George Wildish: I'm going to ask Mahnaz Moosa to put slides on for me. I realize some of you can't see them, but I'm going to follow very closely to the printed text that you have in front of you. They're more like notes than slides.

The Chair: Is it significant that the government members are left in the dark?

Mr Wildish: No, sorry.

Mrs Marland: What was the point of setting it up like that?

Mr Tilson: To keep the government in the dark.

The Chair: We could probably turn it a little bit more, if you want.

Mrs Marland: It's fine for us but --

The Chair: How's that? Does that work for everybody?

Ms Poole: It still works for us.

Mr Wildish: These are more like notes than slides, so I hope you'll find them valuable when we're done. They're more like sentences than bullet-point words. Particularly in the middle there's a section that summarizes the content of the act, indicating where the various topics are found, by section number. I hope you may find that of value when we start into clause-by-clause.

The first page inside, and the next slide, is simply a little agenda of what I propose to do. You have this handout of the summary notes which you have in front of you now, a little introduction which I'm making at the moment. Then we'll go into what the building environment is today; what we see the future building environment to be like; the goals and objectives flowing from this act revision; the development of Bill 112, which we are looking at today; a summary of the act amendments contained in Bill 112; the bill highlights, and then questions. If that's all right, we'll just go right into that.

The next slide over, then, starts with today's building environment, and perhaps we'll set a bit of a background, a bit of a scene in which all of this developed. As you know, we've had two decades of very rapid and extensive change and growth for Ontario's largest industry, the building industry. We have much more complex structures, larger projects for certain, new methods and materials every day, and -- you can see the list -- urban intensification pressures, which you're aware of, environmental concerns, which have become very important in these last few years, and resource conservation concerns such as fuel, electricity, water and construction materials. All of these will impact on codes of the future.

As you know, we have deteriorating existing building stock, and it's very important to us. Many of our high-rise structures built 30 years ago are now showing signs of wear in parking garages, balconies etc.

There are many economic/cost-saving pressures on us, and foreign competition is becoming very real for builders.

We have a change in the way we do things and the idea of mechanization. There are factory-built components and factory-built housing coming on the scene in a big way.

Certainly, there are related social issues like personal security and accessibility. I might say, on personal security, that I'm on a committee of the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario and its job is to look at violence in the built environment. They're becoming aware of the need to protect people in our buildings, whether it's little niches where people can hide or poor lighting or whatever.

The next slide over is just a little crystal-balling here, looking at the future building environment. Perhaps you'll agree with me that some of these things are the way we're going. The next two decades will probably bring more changes than the last two. Resource scarcities will probably be upon us in terms of materials, energy and water, for example. We'll have environmental changes stemming from pollution, acid rain, ultraviolet radiation. Maybe we'll have to have shelters that go from building to building so we don't get burned with the sun. Flooding: If you're a Dr Suzuki fan, you may believe that 10 years from now we'll all be swimming here and we have no provisions for arks in our code at the moment. Global warming's the same thing.

Population concentrations: We certainly expect to have those coming on us in the future. Urban density pressures flow from those, and we know the problems they bring for buildings.

Impacts of infrastructure requirements: Infrastructure here of course means the sewers and roads and watermains that serve our buildings. They of course limit construction, and as construction goes in, it places pressures on the infrastructure.

Global competitiveness for builders, manufacturers and designers will get even worse, I'm sure.

We have "sick building" impacts. People know about that now, bad air in buildings, people going home sick, either outgassing of materials or just lack of oxygen, whatever. It's going to be a big problem. It's already a problem.

Accelerated deterioration of existing building stock: It will come on even more, I suspect, in the next 10 to 20 years.

There will be new regulatory responsibilities and methods that will arise from all this, I'm sure, which will affect everybody in the building world. Accountability and liability issues in the built environment will become even more important. In the US now, hardly any large structure is ever built without it going to litigation and being tied up for months.

Further expansion and importance of Ontario's largest industry, as I mentioned before, the Ontario building industry: It is Ontario's largest industry. It's the economic driver for much of what we do and it's an employment generator of importance.

Clearly, we must be prepared then for a different world and different challenges, and it brings us to the next slide, which sets out the goal of what we're all about with this today.

Maybe I'll take a moment to read it slowly: to provide for a greater scope and flexibility -- the new act provides for greater scope and it launches into some new areas, such as existing buildings, and flexibility certainly is built into it -- in the regulatory process, including improved efficiency and effectiveness in administration of the act and enforcement of the regulations.

Those will be reflected in more detailed objectives you'll see sitting there, just below that: to make greater use of the building regulatory system to effectively and efficiently implement measures to deal with emerging social issues linked with construction, maintenance and use of the built environment; to preserve and protect our existing building stock, which I mentioned before; to facilitate building industry efficiency and competitiveness; to facilitate innovation in design, materials, manufacturing and construction; to enhance health and safety standards; to streamline the building regulatory system, including its enforcement procedures.

We are well aware that in meeting these objectives we must consider many of the competing interests that abound here.

We must restore and maintain a critical balance, as Mrs Harrington has mentioned to you. There is certainly a balance to be struck between the wishes and needs of the public, consumers and users of our as-built environment. Builders, manufacturers and designers have other interests, the municipal government certainly has some interests and the Ontario government has some interests. Achieving the right balance requires a careful assessment of technical, economic and social needs, and we must always keep in mind the balance between each person's freedom to build against the overarching needs of society.

We require an effective partnership with industry, users and regulators, and this includes the private sector, in which we're well aware there are many organizations, such as the standards groups like CSA, the Canadian General Standards Board and the American Society for Testing and Materials that produce standards governing construction. We in the building code area draw on those very heavily.

Of course, this involves full and effective consultation at all stages, to which Mrs Harrington made mention, and we're certainly committed to that. We need built-in sensitivity and flexibility in the future to deal with this exploding world, and we have to provide, of course, for rapid and effective change and action.

That brings us to Bill 112 and its history. I'll just run quickly through that.

Bill 112, in the next slide, was introduced. It's An Act to revise the Building Code Act and it's part of a long-going regulatory reform program we've had in the Ontario buildings branch for the last 10 years. The current building code was introduced in 1974, with a few minor amendments since then, the most recent in 1983 to facilitate the renovation of residential buildings.


Under Bill 112 the basic structure and organization of the act remains about the same, but it's extensively amended. I guess every page is changed, but many characteristics are continued from Bill 112.

There's a general safety and health orientation, of course, which remains. It governs new construction, and I've noted there it's permit-triggered. As you know, when you're doing new construction, that's how the whole process is started. It's by someone applying for a permit. As you know, it's enforced by municipalities, except for unorganized territory, which is the duty of the province to look after. There's a preliminary plans review in municipalities. The municipality approves the plans when they're correct and issues a permit, and it follows up with onsite inspections to make sure the code is met and the plans are followed.

There are two appeal bodies, two commissions: the Building Code Commission, where disputes between a permit holder and a building official may be taken, and a Building Materials Evaluation Commission, which can approve new products, materials and so on that are not already mentioned in the code.

There are some new characteristics built into Bill 112, and of course I mentioned that it governs existing buildings and integrates the plumbing code, as two major examples. Bill 112 has been developed over several years and it supersedes Bill 103, which was introduced a couple of years ago.

Extensive consultation has taken place with stakeholder groups. Mrs Harrington has alluded to those, and some are listed here for you, and there are, of course, more than these: builders, consumers, developers, designers, regulators, labour organizations, building owners, environmentalists, the legal profession etc. We've had a very long and open discussion with the building world.

The parliamentary assistant's consultations were in February and March 1991. The first reading of the bill was May 28, 1991; the second reading, June 24, 1992; to this committee, of course, September. All the way through we have had to make note and assure people that there will be a number of amendment proposals and that they'll be developed through regulations, and the interest groups have been assured that they will be consulted in developing the regulations.

The next three pages, which I'm not going to read in detail to you, are a summary of the proposed amendments. I put in here most everything of substance, and several things of not so much substance, and I've put with them the subsection number so that you can find them. If you want to use this later on to get a grasp of what this bill is all about, you can go down that list and look up anything that is of interest to you.

I'm going to deal with only about 10 or 11 of these items this afternoon. You may have questions on some others, and of course we'll answer those, or others will be dealt with in the clause-by-clause discussion. On here, there are only two that don't have a reference number. They're at the bottom of the page and they are repeals: repeal of confidentiality requirements and repeal of non-compellable witness status. Of course, there's no section number, because they're not in the code.

I'm going to turn these next three or four pages. They're there, as I say, for your reference and, I hope, to help you in dealing with this bill, which takes us over to standards for existing buildings, which is the first item I want to highlight. I'm pretty well going to follow, maybe exactly follow, the listing that Mrs Harrington has issued.

First, standards for existing buildings: This is an innovation for the building code. As you know, the current act governs new construction, demolition and material alterations, repairs and renovation in existing buildings that are initiated by the owner. That's the key thing: initiated by the owner and new construction. It does not deal with maintenance or occupancy of existing buildings unless a building becomes so bad in its condition that it becomes unsafe, in which case the building official may take action. Otherwise, it doesn't deal with existing buildings.

Other standards governing existing buildings are fragmented over several ministries in the government -- for example, property standards under the Planning Act. The fire code deals with certain things, as you know. Other acts, elevators and so on, have requirements of how things shall be maintained.

The result is fragmentation, and as we had with the new construction regulations some years ago, before we started on regulatory reform, there are gaps and overlaps and contradictions between this legislation. It's not coordinated for policy development as well as it might be. It's inconsistent standards across Ontario, inconsistent enforcement across Ontario.

The establishment and enforcement of standards for existing buildings is becoming increasingly important for the building industry and for consumers as well. New construction, as you know, represents only a small percentage of the total building stock. The great bulk of our buildings have been up for some time and will continue to be the main part of our building empire. So looking after existing buildings is important.

The existing buildings that I mentioned earlier on are deteriorating very rapidly. Three quarters of the housing stock was built prior to 1976, which gives you some indication of age.

Major problem areas, of course, are often cited these days. Parking structures are a common one you hear of, where the reinforcing steel is being eroded by salt. They're becoming a multimillion-dollar problem for us here, especially around the Toronto area.

It's the same story for balconies in apartment buildings. Reinforcing steel is being eroded by salt. Exterior cladding is a problem. It tends to spall off. Heating plants are aging. Roofs are another problem, because the roofing technology perhaps wasn't what it ought to be.

Maintenance of the existing stock then is a priority. The establishment of efficient, preventive maintenance programs by building owners seems economically essential.

Establishment of existing building standards is also an effective way of addressing many of the emerging building-related social issues that are coming upon us. I've just listed a few there: pollution control; global warming -- again, we're going to have some problems to deal with in this area; resource conservation; energy; water, as I mentioned before; personal security, and rental standards.

The need for appropriate socially, technically and economically viable building standards is clear. It involves consolidation of the fragmented legislation, its rationalization and streamlining. This refers again to taking all these fragmented pieces of legislation that we have in the government -- they're scattered through various pieces of legislation -- bringing them together and trying to sort them out, rationalize them and streamline the whole process. Development of this process is provided in Bill 112.

The provision of enforcement mechanisms for these standards will require careful review of several matters, and I've listed just a few here. You can imagine that when it comes to dealing with existing buildings, the powers of entry may be different than those for new construction. Certainly, the fines may be different and the orders to be issued, the regulatory commissions required and many other things may be different.

It's a two-barrelled approach we have to take here: first, develop the standards, and while that's going on, I suppose, develop the enforcement mechanisms. All of that will create quite a lot of consultation with stakeholder groups. Both standards and enforcement provisions will be involved.

I think I'd like to move on to the next one: bringing the plumbing code into the building code. The plumbing regulations were provided under the Public Health Act in 1952. Later on, the plumbing code was provided for in the Ontario Water Resources Act, 1957, but administered by the Ministry of Housing, and that's the way it's been for some time now.

The consolidation and streamlining program which the government has had deals with consolidation into the building code of various acts, so it's natural that the plumbing code should be brought in. In doing so, we'd make the administration of plumbing congruent with that of the building code material. To do that, it would require that we revise the definition of "building" to include plumbing. So some of the changes you'll see are in the front of the act and involve those definition problems.

The building code will provide enhanced enforcement powers not in the OWRA. Plumbing inspection then picks up a few things it doesn't have now, and I've listed three or four of them there that it doesn't now have: stop-work orders, restraining orders, unsafe provisions and emergency provisions. None of those things are now available to plumbing inspectors, so they do make some gains in joining the building code team.

There are also building code amendments to allow continued enforcement and delegation to local boards of health, counties etc. You may be aware that much of our plumbing inspection is done by local boards of health, and we make provision for that to continue. Where there's delegation to a board of health or a county, the inspector has all the unique powers of a chief municipal building official except those relating to conditional permits, about which we'll talk some more.

New local plumbing bylaws are desirable but not necessary, because a lot of them could be grandfathered in under the Interpretation Act. That's all I will say on the plumbing part. It's fairly straightforward as a change for us.

The next one is conditional permits. This is something that has received a great deal of interest in the past. I'll run through a few of the highlights. As you know, a building permit must be issued if the applicant's plans show it will comply with all applicable law. Of course, that's the duty of the building inspector or plans reviewer, to look at what's proposed and see if everything is all right, and if it's all right he's obliged to issue a permit.


The current act also provides for permits for portions of a building, so an applicant could come in and ask for a permit for his foundation, if that is all he has ready, and as long as everything proposed and the foundation plans meet all applicable law, then the building official will give him a permit for that part of the building. But it's clear that he must meet all applicable law for that part.

In the last few years we've sometimes had a great deal of pressure on the building industry. People wanted to build in a hurry. They wanted to get things going. They wanted to open a new shopping centre to take advantage of a Christmas sale by a certain time or they wanted to get some building going before some important construction material left the area and went back to wherever it came from and so on. There was no way to speed up the approval process for some of these projects, so the concept of conditional permits emerged.

It was simply that if an applicant was very sure he was going to get his permit because he knew he was going to do whatever was required to get it -- maybe adjust his site plan, maybe adjust his water or sewer requirements or whatever -- he could make an arrangement, a deal, a contract, if you will, with the chief building official which said: "Give me an advance permit. I'd like to start work three months in advance. I will get all my other approvals in the next three or four months. I will meet all applicable laws. If I do not meet all applicable laws, then I will tear the building down or I'll restore that part. I will do whatever to make things right." People would not enter such a contract without being very sure of their ground and committed to what they were going to do.

This is the idea of conditional permits then. It allows the chief building official to assess a situation. If unreasonable delay is going to occur if it's not granted, then he can see himself clear to giving a conditional permit. He is the only person who has the right to make that decision and it is not appealable to anyone else. It's at the complete discretion of the building official, as it says here on the slide. The applicant must meet the chief building official's conditions and the applicant takes full responsibility for everything there.

The next slide shows it could be that the building official will ask for financial security. Some kind of bond may be posted and the agreement may be registered against the land. As it says, the applicant must remove the building and restore the site if the agreement is not filled. Should that not happen, should the contract not be fulfilled, provision is made for the chief building official and his or her agents to enter the building and take the remedial action, which might be to tear down the wall or demolish whatever to restore something, as required. Should that happen, the municipality will incur costs. Provision is made for the municipality to put a lien on the land to recover those costs in the form of taxes. I have listed a couple of examples where this process might be used: Site plan approvals is one and 30-day appeal periods for committee of adjustment hearings is another.

The next highlight I want to touch on is acceptance of equivalents. Of course, this is put in the regulations to streamline the process to allow building officials to accept designs, parts, materials or whatever that fully meet the design performance requirements in the code, but they're a little bit different than what is set down in the code now. So when an applicant proposes something a little different, if it meets all performance requirements, the official, if he is satisfied by receiving lab tests or examples of past performance where it has worked very well and he's satisfied with it all, may put that in his file and may grant the applicant freedom to use that.

Under the building code right now, we have something called renovation provisions. That does provide for what are called compliance alternatives and alternative measures, and these measures may be a bit less than the current code standards but not less than the existing building. If it's an existing old building that perhaps can't meet the current level the code requires, the building official has a little leeway there and can grant a slightly lower performance level, but he cannot go below what the existing building was built to in the first place, so we're not having a lowering below safe standards.

The national building code has always had this provision. They wanted the code to be recommended practice and not to tie people so they couldn't have any freedom to build and to move. This flexibility has been there. Many provinces adopt the national building code just as it is -- about four of them do that -- and there's been no trouble with such a provision in the past.

As mentioned towards the end of that slide, the chief building official is free to ask for engineers' reports, lab tests and so on. This will of course be helpful in approving innovative housing forms and promoting intensification and general industry innovation, and will facilitate construction in general.

I'd like to move to the next slide, which is approval of innovative materials: Again, same story, but in this case by the CCMC, the Canadian Construction Materials Centre. Mrs Harrington mentioned this one as well. In the past it's been that someone who wanted to use a new product or material in Ontario had to go to the BMEC, the Building Materials Evaluation Commission, and get approval of that. The applicant also had to go to a similar body in every other province. That meant 10 trips if you wanted to sell or use the product Canada-wide.

We've had an innovative program going the last number of years to try and make building regulation across Canada streamlined and uniform, and one of the ways of doing that is, of course, to make our codes the same. We're making great strides towards doing that. The codes are becoming very close to being the same.

Another way is to have common approval of new products, and so established at the National Research Council is a new testing evaluation body. This body will do the testing for all of Canada and the provinces will receive those test results and are committed, more or less, to accepting, hopefully, 99% of them and adopting them in the provinces. To do that, the minister makes a ruling accepting it and that becomes the equivalent of a regulation. It's not a regulation because it doesn't go through regs committee, but it's the equivalent of regulation and may be used in the province once it's been gazetted.

The next one is the expanded definition of "unsafe," which Mrs Harrington also talked about. The current act does not address maintenance standards for existing buildings unless the buildings are unsafe, as I mentioned earlier. The inspector may order an owner of an unsafe building to take remedial steps including vacating the building, but the current definition of "unsafe" relates to two items, two topics I've shown there: structural inadequacies or faults of a building with respect to the purpose for which it is currently used, and hazards to the health and safety of persons who are legitimately inside a building and make use of it in a normal way.

There are a few things it doesn't do for us and I've listed three of them there. The current act does not refer to persons outside the building who could be harmed, I would say, for example, by material falling from the building on them. Mrs Harrington touched on that. It does not refer to the potential damage to neighbouring buildings or land that could be harmed by something falling from one building in bad shape on to a neighbouring property. It does not refer to a hazardous building which has been vacated but which has not been suitably barricaded to prevent persons entering.

This deals with a problem we have certainly in large cities where buildings are sometimes vacated, abandoned, but the owner -- of course the use, by the way, of that abandoned building is nothing and so the building is safe in the sense that there's nothing going on in it. However, if it's not properly barricaded, someone could go into the building and therefore it becomes unsafe. This would provide that a building that's in bad condition that is not properly barricaded to prevent somebody from entering can be classified as unsafe. Those kinds of provisions are added into the act.

The next slide over is powers in emergency situations. Most of this material is similar to what's found in the Planning Act and has been moved into the buildings act where it can be used by building officials. The current act provides for entry to buildings, excepting buildings actually used as dwellings, to determine whether they are unsafe. Consent or a warrant is required, of course, for entry to dwellings.


There are certain emergency situations that arise requiring this immediate entry, and I've listed two there. If we had an earthquake or a fire or whatever of that kind and the building official arrived on the scene and he had no time to go and get a warrant, then he is authorized under the act to enter that building to see what the condition is and if any remedial action has to be taken.

Having found out that it's a bad condition and that remedial action is required, he may then make an order to deal with the emergency, perhaps ordering evacuation, perhaps ordering some demolition and so on. He can go in and start taking that action, again without a warrant, and that's the second provision there.

As it says here, the bill then proposes warrantless entry in these circumstances. If, by inspecting a building from the inside, or just from the outside he can see the damage from the outside, the inspector determines that an emergency exists, he may do the following: He may make an order about terminating it. He may take remedial action before serving the order if he needs to. In this case, he must serve the order on the owner and other people in this category as soon as possible. That serving of the order would include what was to be done, of course, and the estimate of the cost of the work. He then may enter the dwelling without the warrant.

He must apply to a judge for confirmation of the order later on to make sure the judge will confirm that he was right in entering the building and that the costs that were expended can be claimed against the building. As noted on the bottom of the slide, this may be recovered as a lien on the land and recovered as taxes.

The next highlight I want to touch on is rights of entry and warrants. Under the current act, no entry is allowed into an occupied dwelling without consent or a warrant. The warrant under the Provincial Offences Act requires seizure. What this means is that because it came from the criminal law, they're usually wanting to seize something. So the point was that to get a warrant to enter, you have to have in mind that you're going to seize something and take it away before a judge has evidence of an offence. A building official seldom wants to seize anything to take before a judge and therefore it's very difficult to get a search warrant. This change to the bill removes that seizure requirement, which will make it much easier for building officials to enter a building.

It does one other thing: It provides for the search warrant under the Building Code Act instead of under the Provincial Offences Act. But the warrant provisions are essentially the same as under the Provincial Offences Act, excepting for the seizure part of it. The Ministry of the Attorney General has been involved in the development of this and the act, as written now, in the proposal, reflects his input. Also, if you'll notice there, it calls for reasonable times for entry with the warrant.

Permit for change of use is the next one. In the past, of course, and up to the current time, permits were given out for new construction. When the plans are being assessed, naturally the building official looks at what is proposed to be done in the building, what kind of work will be carried on or what kind of activity will be carried on there; in other words, what use will be made of it.

Later on, if the building is proposed to be changed and construction proposed, the applicant is required to come in for a building permit for that construction. But if the applicant later on decides really to change the use of the building and does not propose to do any construction, then he or she probably would not apply for a permit. Hence, a building could change to a new use, the new use could be very hazardous, the building could become hazardous and no one would know anything about it until it was perhaps picked up on a property standards inspection or a fire staff inspection.

This change then puts an onus on an owner. When he proposes to change the use of the building and a greater hazard will be involved in the new use, then he must apply for a permit, so we call it a change-of-use permit. It's similar to an automobile certificate of worthiness. In some states in the United States, for example, whenever you sell your building or lease it, ending with a change of ownership, they require an assessment of the building and a permit to make sure that it's in good condition, the same as selling an automobile.

To ensure safety, the permit would be required when changing "use" as defined in the code -- so "use" has to be defined -- and when increasing "hazard" as defined in the code. This would not be retroactive. I stress "not retroactive," but it would ensure that new accessory apartments and other occupancies will be safe.

The change of use, I stress here, may involve a change of major occupancy, which is a term used in the building code to define the kind of occupancy and use that's taking place there and addition of a separate dwelling unit. Those are two that might be in the final regulations. These regulations are under development, as I stated there, and as you can see, they are closely tied to renovation requirements that exist in the code already and to existing building requirements, which will be under development.

This brings us to change in penalties. There is a very large increase in fines, as has been pointed out already by Mrs Poole in her remarks, I believe. The fines and penalties in the act haven't been changed since 1975. There have been many years of inflation and industry is much more complex in many ways now than it was at that time. There is great increase in scope and impact, as you know, and so the existing penalties are not really effective.

At present, they are set out there: individuals, $2000 fine and/or imprisonment for one year and no increase in the fine for a subsequent offence; corporations, $10,000 fine and no increase for a subsequent offence; a continuing offence, an additional fine of $100 per day. The courts traditionally have offered very small fines. The small fines have been regarded as a licence to break the law, in fact, by many builders. Appropriately high minimum fines are not prescribed, because there are occasions when small fines are warranted and a judge just wants to award a fine of $100 or $50. So the courts also have not used the imprisonment penalty.

What's proposed is to put in some fines that may act as a deterrent and they're shown on the next slide. For individuals, they have gone up to a $25,000 fine for a first offence, a $50,000 fine for a subsequent offence and imprisonment is removed; corporations, $50,000 fine for the first offence, $100,000 fine for a subsequent offence and there is no imprisonment; continuing offence, additional fine of $10,000 per day after date set for compliance.

"Offence" is defined as "subsequent" if there has been a previous conviction under this act. These changes are in line with the recent Provincial Penalties Adjustment Act and, for example, the Fire Marshals Act, the Gasoline Handling Act and the Ontario Water Resources Act. All have similar fine levels, as set down there.

Finally, I want to bring one more to your attention. This is a matter that has caused some confusion in the past. We hope to remove it in the act with this change. The act requires a builder to build according to the permit plans and specifications, or if he wants to change it, he has the changes approved by the chief building official.

It's an offence in the current act not to build according to the code, so there's a little bit of confusion here as to which has priority. Does the code have priority or do the approved plans have priority? The question being, what if the approved plans don't conform to the code because of some error or whatever?

This change would clarify that the act and the code are supreme. The builder must build in accordance with the act, code and the permit plans and the onus is on the builder to rationalize the situation. In effect, what happens is that if the owner becomes aware or he's told that the building that's going up does not meet the code, but it is according to his plans, he will have to take the plans with the changes to the chief building official, have the changes approved so it now conforms with the code and the building goes up meeting the code.

I think that's the end of what I'd like to remark on and, of course, entertain any questions anyone might like to bring.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Wildish, for that extensive summary of the act and also for the references in the middle of your presentation, which I'm sure will be very useful to members of the committee. I'd now like to ask the two critics if they have some comments and/or questions to make and we'll begin with Ms. Poole.

Ms Dianne Poole (Eglinton): Thank you, Mr Chair. I have a few fairly brief comments and then I wondered how you would like to handle it. Should I make some comments, Mrs Marland do the same and then revert to questions by the group after that?

The Chair: A good point. I might just ask Mrs Marland, how would you like to go at it? Do you have some opening comments you wanted to make before getting into questions?

Mrs Marland: Yes. They're quite minimal at this point.

The Chair: All right. Well then, why don't we have Ms Poole make her comments, you make yours and then we can go to questions?

Mrs Marland: That's great with me. I just wanted to make one other suggestion, if Ms Poole and Ms Harrington would agree to it.

The Chair: Please.


Mrs Marland: I notice that before we start clause-by-clause, there is another time when you're speaking. Ms Harrington is on the agenda on the morning of the 14th, and I'm sure that Ms Harrington isn't going to speak for an hour at that point -- I'm glad I told you. You now know you are going to speak then.

Ms Harrington: Not for an hour.

Mrs Marland: No, that's what I thought when I saw it. The thing is at that point we will all have had the benefit of the input of the deputations, so it may be that, speaking for myself anyway, I would like an opportunity to speak then too, after hearing the deputations, because although we may or may not have amendments, there may be things we would like to get on the record just in a global form.

The Chair: Yes, I'm sure we can do that at the opening.

Mrs Marland: Thank you.

The Chair: And the same would apply to Ms Poole, and then we can get into the clause-by-clause. Okay?

Mrs Marland: Yes.

The Chair: Then we'll proceed, Ms Poole.

Ms Poole: I'd like to thank the parliamentary assistant for her comments and Mr Wildish for his very comprehensive analysis, which I'm sure will be very helpful to us as we go through not only the public hearings tomorrow, or the hearings by invitation, I guess they would be more aptly called, but also as we go through the clause-by-clause.

I think it is very fair to say that there's been quite a positive reaction to the legislation by most of the interest groups, whether they be in the industry or indeed consumer groups, and when you look at what the amendment to the building code is proposing to do, you can see why. It includes things such as new materials and innovative technologies and services which obviously have not been in the code since it was last amended nine years ago. It's also going to enhance safety standards, it's going to streamline and, as Mrs Harrington said, it's going to promote economic activity. I think those are changes that are all quite welcome.

I mentioned that it was last amended nine years ago, but I think there have been several references to the fact that new legislation was introduced in 1989 which unfortunately, due to events in September of 1990, didn't quite make it through. This is very similar in a number of areas. There are some differences which I would hope to have an opportunity to ask either the parliamentary assistant or Mr Wildish about.

I've said some fairly positive things about the legislation, but as always, of course, legislation is never perfect and as opposition critic I do have to pick out a few things we would like to not only ask questions about but bring forward as issues that interest groups have raised with us.

The first was the ungraded lumber issue, particularly with the small farm buildings, and I'm very delighted to hear from the parliamentary assistant confirmation that indeed the regulation will be changed to continue to exempt those farm buildings. It was certainly quite a storm of controversy aroused by this particular regulation, and I think quite unanticipated, so I think there will be a number of municipalities where they will be very happy to hear that news.

The second contentious issue is that the amendments are going to bring existing buildings under the act. Now, as Mr Wildish pointed out in his notes -- and I probably could never find it again, but it is in there somewhere -- the current act does not provide mandatory standards for maintenance or occupancy of existing buildings unless the building becomes unsafe. What we don't know at this particular stage are the details of how this is going to be enforced -- for instance, how the determination is going to be as to what is unsafe.

Although I think most of us are very pleased that existing buildings will be brought up to code, the other problematic feature, particularly with rental buildings, is that you have a catch-22 situation. On the one hand, if a building is deemed to be unsafe and has to have changes made to fit the new building code, it can be fairly expensive, particularly, as Mr Wildish said, if you get into underground parking restorations and that type of thing. On the other hand, we have quite restrictive rent control legislation where in certain instances the rents could not cover the expenditures. So the landlord may be in the position where he doesn't have the money to do it and yet faces a rent penalty because he didn't have the money to bring the building up to code.

It's that kind of conundrum that I think we're going to have to work with, and I've heard a number of groups express a concern about this particular aspect of it.

The third thing I wanted to mention was that in the legislation introduced by the Liberals there was a provision about the certified professional program, and this has not appeared in the revised legislation. One of the questions I would like to ask both the parliamentary assistant and Mr Wildish is why it was not included.

Under the certified professional program, the idea was that certain private-sector professionals -- for instance, architects and engineers -- might be specially qualified as being capable of certifying that plans complied with the Ontario Building Code. There were a number of very appealing things about that concept. Municipalities always have a great deal of difficulty meeting the high-volume rush periods, and if you had certified professionals who could take part of that load, I think it would certainly help streamline it and make sure that there aren't backlogs and that type of thing. Perhaps one of the questions we can ask later on will relate to that and why it was dropped.

Another item that was dropped -- this refers to deleting certain wording regarding the warrant to enter and inspect. Originally, it included wording about the warrant to enter and inspect. Now it just talks about the search warrant, which is a different aspect of it. A number of people from municipalities have commented to me that they're quite concerned and that they liked the original wording, that it gave them much more power as far as entering and ensuring that things were done properly. Perhaps that's another area where we could ask some questions, and maybe our witnesses tomorrow might be able to elaborate on that.

One matter brought forward by the Urban Development Institute of Ontario was the matter of the conditional permits, and Mr Wildish referred to that in his remarks. I guess their major concern is that because "unreasonable delay" is not defined, various municipalities would have all sorts of different ways of enforcing that, and they were afraid it would become the rule rather than the exception to have conditional permits. Maybe we could have that elaborated upon as well.

A brief point is whether 20 days for appeal is adequate, particularly because quite often the municipal department is negotiating with the builder at the time the decision is made and that 20-day period simply may not be extensive enough.

Just two last very brief points. I think it's very positive that we're consolidating the standards, but I think it's very important that these standards supersede local bylaws regarding maintenance, occupancy and repair. You certainly don't want the situation where you have inconsistencies and chaos where you've got the Ontario Building Code saying one thing and the municipalities having their own local bylaws that contradict it. That's the type of thing that's quite important.

A final point. The meat of the Ontario Building Code is, of course, the regulations. Because they are, I understand, not quite ready, we were not able to have an opportunity to hear witnesses' comments on the regulations and whether there are things that should be changed in those particular aspects.


I do hope the ministry perhaps will provide us with some sort of guarantee that it will be sending the final regulations out to various groups in the industry and consumer groups and very carefully considering their input, because, really, that's their only opportunity. Regulations are passed in camera by the cabinet and rarely do people really have a lot of input, so since we're not able to bring them to this committee, I do hope, since the Ontario Building Code is extremely important, the ministry will undertake to make sure there's adequate consultation.

Thank you, Mr Chair. This was much briefer than my one-hour-and-15-minute speech on second reading, so I've consolidated some of my comments.

The Chair: It shows what happens when we get into September.

Ms Poole: You get tired.

The Chair: Ms Marland, would you like to make your opening remarks?

Mrs Marland: Thank you, Mr Chairman. It's a disadvantage to speak second when the issues are the same for both critics in general.

Frankly, with the development of new materials being as extensive and as rapid as it has been in the last decade, I don't think that to amend a building code once in nine years is sufficient. I think that in order to save the people who build buildings and the people who subsequently buy buildings money, a building code should be routinely amended to address improvements that are available and yet could be contained within the building code of a province. I hope it won't take another nine years to take an in-depth look at the Ontario Building Code, and I point out that it's seven years since the Ontario Progressive Conservative government was responsible for the Ontario Building Code.

Obviously, some of the areas of concern are quite straightforward and quite easy to identify. First of all, I want to say the parts of the bill that I am particularly pleased about.

I think the eighth -- are these sections? I'm not sure how you're referring to these.

Ms Harrington: Highlights of the bill.

Mrs Marland: Highlights, okay. The eighth highlight then, which permits a building inspector to obtain a search warrant without the current requirement of intention to seize evidence of an offence: This particular aspect of the bill is something we have been looking for, certainly in my municipality, for some years, mainly because -- and this is going to become accelerated under the current socialist government's policy for intensification -- we have been very concerned about how single-family homes in particular have been made into rooming houses by dividing a living room and a dining room into sometimes as many as four individual, separate rooms, and basements have been subdivided unmercifully into rooms that have been rented, all in a single-family-home zoning.

I recognize that the current government in Ontario doesn't agree with single-family-home zoning, because in spite of the fact that it has John Sewell riding around the province reviewing the Planning Act, at the same time we have the Minister of Housing throwing the Planning Act out the window by telling the people of this province that, as of right, they can build an accessory apartment or create an additional dwelling unit within their existing dwelling unit.

The Planning Act is related to the building code because, in my opinion, what we have happening today in Ontario is the demise of the future of all land use and buildings on land. We are eliminating the protection the public has had all along in terms of land use planning.

Actually, in the city of Mississauga and in my own riding, we have had examples where we wished we'd had the power under the building code, to go in and take evidence, whether it's with a camera or with a tape measure or with a couple of witnesses, without actually taking anything out of the house. We have wished we had the ability to seize evidence in some form to deal with the disgusting situation we've had, which has been a form of intensification in existing single-family homes.

This current socialist government wishes to intensify single-family home dwelling units, and that was a direction that was introduced by Chaviva Ho_ek when she was Minister of Housing for the former Liberal government. The direction at that time was the same as the direction supported by the current government, which was, as I mentioned a few moments ago, the addition of granny flats, an additional dwelling unit, within a single-family unit.

That's now going to be legislated this fall, according to the Housing minister. She tells us she's going to bring in the legislation this fall because, even though the Liberal government brought it in as a Housing policy statement, it hasn't happened because municipalities simply have said no. So now we're going to have it legislated this fall that citizens, as of right, may do these things.

We don't know what percentage of citizens will go to city hall and ask for a building permit to do it, so we will always have a percentage of citizens who will make these adjustments to their homes on their own and therefore, if they do not meet the building code requirements, possibly put the people who live in these additional dwelling units at risk.

That is why, to use the parliamentary assistant's term, highlight 8 is a very important aspect of this bill that we're very happy to see at this point because of the fact that we're going to have this form of intensification across the province. Even without it being legislated, in our experience in Mississauga, we have had horrific and disgusting situations of single-family homes being carved up into rooming houses which in fact have been completely unsafe and completely contravening the Ontario fire marshal's code and the Ontario Building Code. So we are very happy to see the point made under highlight 8 for that reason.

As the parliamentary assistant has said, we are also very happy to see the increase in fines for violations of the building code regulations. To tell you the truth, we would have been quite happy to see that maximum fine for the first offence higher than $25,000, because it's all relative. When I said at second reading that the builders see it as a cost of doing business, that's exactly what happens.

We have builders in the city of Mississauga, in fact in my riding, who have been fined a number of times, and here you see the subsequent offences are going to be $50,000. If they're building a $1.5-million house, they don't care. They don't care that they build a house that costs that much money and has never had a building inspector at the door because they're building it without a permit. They turn around and an equally unscrupulous realtor, in my opinion, puts it on the market and sells it to some unsuspecting individual who spends $1 million. I could take you now to two that were $1.7 million. It doesn't really matter whether it's a $150,000 home or multiples of millions of dollars; the fact is that purchaser needs to have the protection of knowing that the building met the building code.


The developers and builders together who have ignored the requirements of the Ontario Building Code as it exists today are outright crooks, as far as I'm concerned. We should have been able to penalize them drastically enough that it wasn't worth their while to be taken into court and be fined because it was such a penalty that it was punitive in its result.

So yes, I'm happy to see the first offence go to $25,000 and subsequent offences go to $50,000 but, frankly, I think on the really expensive homes we may well see some developers and builders who choose to ignore it even so because on a percentage cost of the overall building, if they can get that building built and up and sold and they haven't had to wait six months for a building permit, which is entirely possible in a busy, developing municipality in the busy construction season, say from the spring to the fall, they can get in and get out and get their money out.

Based on whatever it costs them to borrow the money they need to put that building up in the first place, it's going to be worth it to them to pay the fine and get on with it. That's something that I'm sure, Madam Parliamentary Assistant, you will be monitoring. If this doesn't act as a deterrent, I'm sure you will look at revising that figure upwards again.

In this section you have said that for corporations the fines are significantly higher -- $50,000 for the first offence and $100,000 for the subsequent offences -- and I wondered whether you could some time later on today or in the next four days that we're meeting give me the definition of a corporation as it pertains to the Ontario Building Code Act.

If a corporation was a group of builders or an individual builder who had incorporated, would that apply to them, or does the reference "corporations" mean large corporations, and therefore we're dealing with commercial buildings and office structures and so forth? If "corporations" means corporations as defined under the Corporations Act, then we may well be able to deal with some of the big, heavy-duty builders who are incorporated. I think that would be an interesting aspect for us to look at in this bill.

So I say well done. Finally, we got those changes that I've addressed. They weren't needed originally because we were dealing in different markets and there were not the problems. We never had the blatancy. When I was on council, we never had builders who would proceed without building permits and ignore stop-work orders. The attitude has changed a great deal.

I think conditional permits are a very good way to expedite construction. I've certainly been aware that we've been issuing foundation permits in the past when it got to being late in the fall and we were concerned about the frost getting in the ground. Foundation permits were a very realistic way to go, and I think to have formalized conditional permits in the act makes a lot of sense. So we're pleased about that.

Obviously, we're pleased that the ministry has resolved the concern about the exemption for farm buildings on ungraded lumber. It is something we've asked about a number of times. I, as Housing critic, and other members of my caucus who represent farming communities have been asking for that consideration as well.

I assume the 6,000 square feet maximum is a size of building, Madam Parliamentary Assistant, that those people who were concerned with this issue are happy with. Arbitrarily, I wouldn't know what size it would have to be, but I'm sure the ministry has concluded that 6,000 square feet meets the average or largest size of a barn or a farm structure. I'd be interested to know how that figure was arrived at.

Bringing the existing buildings under the act is a very real concern, and I think there could be some circumstances where that would bring a very real hardship on a property owner. I don't like using the term "grandfathering," because it's such a silly term, whether we say grandfathering or grandmothering, but we all know what's meant by grandfathering so I guess we continue to use it until we become a little more literate.

I really would like an explanation about why you're looking for that scope of bringing in existing buildings retroactively, other than, of course, for safety or health reasons. Obviously, we would support it 100% if in the past the building code allowed a certain type of balcony railing structure or a certain kind of stairwell design and we've since found that the fire marshal isn't happy with it.

We've had experience where a certain volume of space simply doesn't work in a stairwell in terms of safety, materials don't work or those kinds of remedies to existing standards in existing buildings, and the building has to be modified to be made more safe. Yes, I would certainly concur with that.

Because some of this work would be so cost-prohibitive, especially under the new Rent Control Act, for those property owners, if it's other than safety or health reasons, I think we've got to be very clear and specific about whether those property owners would be protected by the fact that the building exists today and it has functioned safely. We're not looking to ask them to do upgrading to meet a new code that has come in since the building was built.

It's a funny thing about this question of certified professionals being allowed to grant approvals, to use their stamp and then take over the role of the chief building official of a municipality. All the years I was on council I think we were all very sympathetic, certainly in my experience, to the fact that in the building season sometimes it seems there are inordinate delays in getting building permits. But I would have some difficulty with delegating the responsibility of the chief building official of a municipality to certified professionals.


Every professional engineer and architect is certified to practise in Ontario. They also are the people who develop the drawings, the design. They develop the working drawings. As engineers they bring lot grading certificates to that building official and say, "This building will work on this lot because we're certifying that the drainage is there" etc. But if they also turn around and are the people who then approve that lot grading certificate, that building functional design and the working drawings from the city's perspective, I think we've got a potential for a conflict of interest here.

I'm going to be very interested to hear the presentation, which I think is tomorrow --

Mr Tilson: The Ontario Home Builders' Association.

Mrs Marland: Whoever it is, yes, perhaps the Ontario home builders. I'm quite willing to listen to what the argument is about these certified professionals, but on the surface, that's my initial reaction. I'm perfectly happy to hear what they have to say and possibly to change my position completely.

Ms Harrington: You'll have to join our party, Margaret. We just agree so much.

Mrs Marland: I want to learn what they have to say.

The protection for the public today in Ontario is the chief building official of the municipality. It actually comes down to one person. Obviously, the chief building official in a municipality delegates authority to his staff, but if something goes wrong, do you know that it's the chief building official who is sued? It's not even the municipality directly, it's the chief building official.

Mr Tilson: Not any more under this bill, I don't think.

Mrs Marland: Maybe the bill changes that, but it has been his direct liability and responsibility. But I think, Madam Parliamentary Assistant, that's the protection the public has today. It'll be interesting to hear how they're going to suggest it could work. I acknowledge that if an architect or an engineer puts his or her stamp on, that's their professional credibility on the line. They're saying that building meets the building code. They're saying the building will be safe and the heating, ventilation and everything else will work.

But it is rather nice to know, for the consumer, that somebody else is going to look at that drawing and say: "Yes, we agree. It does meet the Ontario Building Code." That's what the Ontario Building Code is all about. It's about a certification to the public that your building is safe, your building meets the safety requirements.

I've always reassured people who complain about the process of getting building permits that it's not a bureaucratic maze, it's a certificate to you, as an applicant for a building permit, that your building meets a building code. I think it's a great system.

That brings me to my final comment, which is whether some of the other aspects that have become part of the policies through regulations, such as energy conservation and those areas, are a good thing for us to have in the building code. I would like to say up front that I think it's very important for the building code to cover those things which benefit the consumer. In the long run, if you have a building that is energy conserving, it saves the owner of that building money, and certainly from an environmental aspect we all benefit from those kinds of policies.

I'm not sure about other provinces and I'm not sure about the United States, but I think on the subject of energy conservation, I would like to see our Ministry of Housing look at some of the practices, and I don't know if they're legislated, that are put to use in buildings in Europe. I didn't have firsthand experience of this until I was over at the Olympics last month.

Mr Tilson: I knew you'd get into that.

Mrs Marland: I was in Spain and France. I know for those of you who have had that experience, which I hadn't had, it's really impressive to walk in large office buildings, large hotels, small motels, restaurants and commercial buildings where the lights are not on in the halls unless there is somebody there. They all have these time switches that you press when you come out of your door. You press this light switch and it lights up the hall while you walk down it. It stays on long enough for you to get into your room or out of your room and down to the elevator.

There are two things about this. You save energy because you're not lighting the place, but you're also not heating the place, so you save energy if you're reliant on air-conditioning. Of course, our experience in France and Spain was that very few buildings are air-conditioned. I think that's because they're so strict on the use of energy, period. They don't encourage air-conditioning and they don't encourage unnecessary lighting.

I wonder if that's something that, before we finish the review of the building code, I could ask the ministry to give us an answer on. Would you consider making it a requirement in public buildings that washroom lights don't stay on when nobody is in there and hall lights in public buildings are not illuminated except voluntarily when people are in that hall by using these time-sensitive switches? As I say, I don't know whether it's a building code requirement in those countries, but boy, it sure works in terms of saving electricity.

I think in light of the fact that we've got Ontario Hydro looking at an 8.6% increase in our rates next year, we better start helping it conserve electricity and help the consumers conserve electricity in this province by mandating directions like this through the Ontario Building Code Act.

That's the summation of my opening comments.

The Chair: Thank you, Mrs Marland. I suspect we're all going to be tempted to lead you further into Spain and Barcelona, but we will not do that until after the hearings.

At this point we will then go back to questioning. I'm going to come back to Ms Poole, but I'd just like to indicate that in addition to Ms Poole and Mrs Marland with questions, I have Mr Tilson and Mr Perruzza, who have indicated they would like to ask questions or comment, and I just want to get anyone else.

We have an hour and 10 minutes roughly, so could I ask that we might go in 10-minute slots, which I think would then probably allow everybody to get some questions in today. Would that be acceptable to members? I've got two more. If one doesn't need 10 minutes, that's fine, but --

Mr Tilson: I guess both Ms Poole and Ms Marland have raised some excellent questions, and we could probably spend the rest of the afternoon just dealing on the points that the two critics raised.

The Chair: It was just whether Ms Poole and Mrs Marland wanted to add any more specific questions to the ones they raised in their comments, because initially they were going to do their comments and then ask questions.

Ms Poole: I was going to suggest that since a lot of Mrs Marland's comments and mine had implicit questions in them, perhaps we allow Ms Harrington and Mr Wildish to respond, which may actually answer a number of the questions we have raised, then take it from there.

The Chair: All right, that's fine. Then I have down those who've indicated questions. We'll go to Ms Harrington.

Ms Harrington: Thank you. I have noted down, I think, all of your questions; I may have missed a couple. I'll try and do what I can to answer them very briefly. George, I see, has all the answers written down for me.

Ms Poole: No, he only has the questions written down. You're on your own.

Ms Harrington: Okay. I believe, Ms Poole, your first question was with regard to existing buildings and how the standards would be enforced and, following from that, the cost implied in keeping them up to standard. Certainly in this particular climate, economically it is a very valid concern, but let's just look at it very directly and say that we have not established what the minimum standard will be. That will be a gradual process and it will be looking at all -- the people who are involved will be consulted about it.

I think we must all agree that a certain minimum standard is certainly a welcome thing and a necessary thing. As George has pointed out, it does bring together different regulations and standards in many different parts of government, and in that sense, hopefully it will be a step forward.


With regard to the cost, I guess I can point out to you that in some circumstances that is going to be a problem for a particular owner, but in an overall sense, the 2% that is allowed within the guideline for rent increases over the next 10 years does provide $8 billion worth of upgrading. The ministry has done a study and -- let me see if I can find my figure here -- the needed amount over the next 10 years will be between $4 billion and $7 billion. So this 2% within the guideline should theoretically cover it, but it certainly will not in each individual case. I don't want to go too far into that at this point.

Ms Poole: Just very quickly, I wonder if the ministry could provide us with a copy of that study. We have heard estimates before, but we've never actually heard of the specific study where these figures --

Ms Harrington: That's what I have been told. I will see if I can get that.

Your second question was with regard to the certified professionals program. Ms Marland has answered that in a wonderful way. In fact for half a moment I thought she was going to become a good socialist there. What she's pointed out is that there could be a conflict of interest, and the general public in Ontario is very happy and satisfied and very confident in the building officials of Ontario. It gives them a sense of security to know they are doing their job.

But I also want to point out, and we will hear, probably tomorrow, that there are disadvantages and there are advantages to having the certified professionals. So what we did look at is, what outweighs the other, and certainly we felt that the disadvantages outweighed the advantages of that particular proposal.

Your next question was with regard to entry.

The Chair: Excuse me, Ms Poole just wanted something clarified.

Ms Poole: Just two points of clarification. First, I think there was an aside that it was the Ontario home builders tomorrow who would be speaking to this. They may do that, because they have been working very closely with the UDI, but it was actually the Urban Development Institute that had a brief where it was very much supporting the idea of certified professionals.

The second point is that I don't believe it is that every engineer or every architect would fulfil this role but there would be certain ones selected by the chief building officer for a program. That is my understanding of how it would work. So they would be people who would not be in this conflict-of-interest situation, and certainly it would be narrowed to a very few eminently qualified persons. But tomorrow perhaps we'll hear more about their point of view.

The Chair: Could I just ask, on a point of clarification, what did you say about the advantages and the disadvantages? I wasn't sure whether I misunderstood in terms of the legislation. Could you just repeat what you said there? I heard you and you seemed to be saying the opposite of what the bill did.

Ms Harrington: What I said?

The Chair: Yes, the advantages and the disadvantages.

Mrs Yvonne O'Neill (Ottawa-Rideau): You said the disadvantages outweigh the advantages.

The Chair: Did you not mean the advantages --

Ms Harrington: The other way around.

The Chair: Yes, okay, just for the record, to make that clear.

Ms Harrington: Your next question, I believe, was with regard to the powers of entry, but I can't recall exactly what your question was around powers of entry.

Ms Poole: Apparently the original legislation did have specific wording related to the power of inspection and entry, as opposed to just the search warrant, and the municipalities were very much in favour of this, because it did give them enhanced power of entry. I've heard from several representatives from AMO that they very much liked the original way the wording was. They felt it did give them more power to deal with the problems. Perhaps Mr Wildish could confirm whether there was a specific reason that it was taken out.

Ms Harrington: As Ms Marland has said, I think most of the municipalities would be pleased with the direction that the step is taking, but with regard to your --

Ms Poole: I think that's true, but they were more pleased with the previous wording.

Ms Harrington: George, would you like to comment, please?

Mr Wildish: It's true that in Bill 103 there was a provision, in addition to a search warrant, similar to what we've been talking about for the past half-hour or so, for a permit to enter and inspect. This would be a permit that didn't have as a basis the intent of finding evidence of an offence. It would be a permit to allow you in to do your job, whatever your job was, and it was a kind of permit that was appearing in other legislation at the time, so it was put in Bill 103.

A couple of things should be said about this provision. In the first place, it didn't allow anyone into an actual dwelling. To get into a dwelling, you always had to go and get a search warrant, so it applied only to commercial or other types of buildings. There were some problems with that, too, even for a building such as this one, because it would indicate that someone, an inspector, could come in, wander around and say, "I'm just here to see if everything's all right," even if you didn't want him there. It had another side to the sword; it cut both ways. It would allow people -- inspectors, I'm talking about here, of course -- to enter a private office or lab where something that they might regard as secret might be going on. This fellow can come in and say, "I'm just in here to see if you're doing work that requires a permit," because it didn't have in it a provision about obtaining sufficient grounds and so on to justify this entry.

Also, if a building inspector did notice that he saw rubble going out and lumber going in and he heard the neighbours complaining of jackhammers operating or whatever -- in other words, he had good evidence that something was happening there in a construction way -- then he could go and get a warrant. He could then; he could now. He goes to the justice and says: "I have every reason to believe, and here are my grounds, that construction is going along at so-and-so address and they're building without a permit, because there's been no permit taken out. That would be an offence and I'd like to get in to see about that."

There are some reasons, then, why it was not altogether a happy proposal, and it was removed on that basis.

Ms Poole: So this is actually the opposite of the Rent Control Act, where we argued that there should be reasonable and probable grounds for an inspector to go in, and the minister said, "No, the inspector should have the right to go in without the reasonable and probable grounds." This actually is the opposite of that, where you're saying you need reasonable and probable grounds before you proceed and go in. So there are two pieces introduced in the same year by the Ministry of Housing, but one goes one direction and one goes the other.

Mr Wildish: I'm not an expert in the rent control, but I'd make a stab at that for you. The rent control provides that where someone makes an allegation that something is wrong, the director may authorize an investigation to take place, and following the investigation, if they say they want to get in to find out some things, they have to go and get a search warrant. At the search warrant application, they would have to declare or show their reasonable and probable grounds. In other words, they can't get in without a warrant, and to get the warrant they have to have reasonable and probable grounds. But they can start an investigation based on an allegation, which I think is the argument.

Ms Poole: But they can't investigate unless they go in, at reasonable hours and that type of thing. But this doesn't allow that initial step.

Mr Wildish: Yes. I'd have to defer to the rent control people for the details of that.

Ms Poole: Perhaps we could explore that later.

Ms Harrington: You also mentioned that you had a concern about the 20-day appeal period. From the evidence -- we did look into this -- there have been no problems with that 20-day period for most municipalities. So if you did want to ask the ministry further about that, we find that that time is adequate.

You talked about consolidated standards across the province and that this was a good thing, and you wanted to make sure that superseded the municipal bylaws. At this point, from my reading, I understand there will still be municipal bylaws. Would you like to comment, George, as to which one takes precedence?


Mr Wildish: Yes. As you're aware, there are municipal property standards now. Several property standards deal with things of substance with regard to building safety and so on, and those things would certainly be candidates to come into existing building standards. There are some property standards that deal with things like length of the grass and taking the abandoned refrigerator off the front lawn. Those aesthetic-type things might not, in the final analysis, be candidates that are accepted for the existing building standards, so there's a whole agenda of things to be looked at to make a determination which ones should come in and which ones would not come in.

Specifically, your question with regard to --

Ms Poole: Is there any possibility of conflict? That was what I was more concerned about.

Mr Wildish: Yes. You see, ones which are left with the municipality would not be in conflict, of course. They can make the rulings about the length of the grass or the peeling of the paint or whatever is left there. The ones that come into the existing building standards would not be left with the municipality. They would not be allowed to go higher or lower.

Ms Poole: They would supersede --

Mr Wildish: "Supersede" is correct.

Ms Poole: -- any of the municipal bylaws that relate to the building code standards.

Mr Wildish: Yes, once they're in the standard.

Ms Poole: Once they're in the standard. Okay. Thank you.

Ms Harrington: The official answer to the question that I have written down here is that it's premature at this point to give a definite answer, because we will be consulting with the building officials and the stakeholders.

Mr Wildish: As Mrs Harrington said, everything about existing buildings is now a matter for consultation and development. None of these things are decided. There are many options about how they could be enforced and which things would come in to be considered in consultation with the stakeholder groups.

Ms Harrington: Okay. You wanted the regulations sent out. George, would that be possible, if you could make a note of that? Or you could ask Ms Poole about them.

Mr Wildish: Regulations? Which regulations sent out?

Ms Poole: Just that the Ontario Building Code comprises the regulations. The problem is that many people never really get to see the draft regulations before they become regulations. I wondered what type of consultation is taking place with those regulations so that when they do come out, you've answered any questions and problems the public may have with them.

Mr Wildish: Yes.

Ms Harrington: You can do that?

Mr Wildish: Yes. I can remember your remarks from second reading on this topic. Do you want the long answer or the short answer?

Ms Poole: Probably, given the time, the short answer. Members are allowed long questions. You have to give short answers.

Mr Hans Daigeler (Nepean): The right answer.

Mr Wildish: The good answer is that in the last several years we've had a regulatory forum program going, as you'll perhaps be aware. We've made many steps forward to make this program, the process of reg development, very open; so we have started to send out the regs, before they become law, to all the interested client groups.

The last time, for example, 1,200 copies of the proposed reg changes went out to client groups like architects, engineers, manufacturers and whoever we can think of, to anybody who wants to be on the mailing list. Incidentally, we invite every person here, of course, or any caucus to get on that list to receive the Building Code Act and all those amendments. So you can keep yourself enthralled with the exciting things that are happening there.

Ms Poole: Research.

Mr Wildish: Yes. The code -- and we're going to hear some more of this tomorrow from presenters, I'm sure -- is moving into new fields, as Mrs Harrington has mentioned: environment, pollution, social matters of one kind or another. The whole scope of code interests is expanding. People are going to make the point, I'm sure, tomorrow that this requires a different sort of approach to reg development, which I think is getting to what you're talking about.

We expected this, of course, when we started several years ago into this expansion, this openness, where we said: "Okay, we're going to new fields. We're going to go out to the public to get input from them. This is going to bring many more client group stakeholders before us. We're going to have to expand the process. We're going to have to make arrangements for this."

We now have hearing committees set up. We now have seminars that we run. We now send out the booklets I mentioned to you -- 1,200 this last time. Anyone who's interested is invited to ask for one of those and become involved. From our point of view, the more involvement, the better. There are no restrictions, and we expect, over time, because of the advancing agenda we've talked about already today, we'll have to move in this direction more and more. To answer your question -- I'm sure it will come up tomorrow -- yes, we will be inviting and hoping to participate more and more with the client groups in advance of sending out the proposed regulations.

One more point I should like to make on this: The regulations in Ontario change about every two years; the national building code changes are five years. When one regulation cycle is finishing -- right now, the other one has already started, so we're talking with groups like home owners or with regulators, whatever, about the current set. Code changes are out for discussion and the other cycle is just finishing.

We welcome their participation. We will of course have to take it upon ourselves to pull together groups to discuss things in advance. For example, the environmentalist people make a proposal. On our own, we'll have to pull together a group to deal with that -- and whoever else is interested -- to discuss the thing before the proposals are put together. They're mailed out to become the upcoming suggested changes.

Ms Poole: Thank you. That was a good answer.

Mr Wildish: If you have an hour, I'll give you the long answer.

Ms Poole: I thought that was the long answer.

Ms Harrington: Ms Marland had several comments and questions. With regard to her comments that we agree on, I'd like to reinforce that and thank her, first of all, about being pleased about the warrantless search requirements now, our agreement with regard to the certified professionals and also our agreement extensively with the energy and conservation aspect of buildings in the future.

I would like to reinforce her request that the ministry look into the various ways things are dealt with in Europe. I'm sure we would have ways of doing that and I hope in the past they have been aware of other countries. We don't have to reinvent the wheel.

Mrs Marland: Might we get that answer while we're still in the forum of reviewing the code this time?

Ms Harrington: I'm not sure how extensive your request is, but would we be able to get something back, George?

Mr Wildish: We, as a branch, of course monitor codes in other provinces, the States and so on, and enforcement methods, techniques and so on. The National Research Council, which has the Institute for Research in Construction, does this in a broader sense for all the world. If we don't know ourselves, we can certainly contact them and ask who will have a better handle on it than we have and be able to report whatever we can find to you within the time frame we have.

Ms Harrington: We were hoping by next week, if you could have something. Would that be possible?

Mr Wildish: Yes.

Ms Harrington: Okay. Thank you very much. A couple of other replies to your comments: First of all, you did discuss intensification. I think a broad cross-section of the industry and many different people across Ontario believe that intensification makes eminent sense. I recall just last night reading an article in one of the papers that was in the clippings by a professor from Queen's University in Kingston about all the different reasons that intensification makes sense, maybe not in the way you're seeing it in Mississauga, but I would like to send you that article.

You also mentioned that the fine levels are good. You asked for a definition of corporations and we will endeavour to do that for you. You also mentioned that conditional permits are good, and I think I've dealt with your question about existing buildings. That will be developed and I think most people will agree that there should be a minimum standard and a consolidation throughout the government of all the different regulations that deal with buildings.

You also talked about ungraded lumber. It is very interesting to realize that it was -- before the 1990 election in fact -- the Liberal government that took away the exemption for farm people to use ungraded lumber.

Mrs Marland: Really?

Ms Harrington: Yes.

Mrs Marland: Bad advice.

Ms Harrington: And in fact it didn't come to somehow public exposure until last winter, which is a very strange phenomenon.


Ms Poole: Mr Chair, on a point of order: Perhaps I can clarify that it was not brought in under a Liberal government. The idea was introduced, but it was actually passed as a regulation by the NDP government, just for clarification.

Ms Harrington: I have checked into it and it did come from before September 6, 1990.

Ms Poole: It had been introduced but not passed as a regulation, I believe.

Ms Harrington: Yes. You'll have that on the record.

Mrs Marland: Margaret, excuse me, can I respond as you go along so I don't get too far behind? There were two things.

I listened very carefully to what you said and your response to Ms Poole about existing buildings. You've gone fairly quickly over it and you said, "We agree there would be minimum standards." If you're referring to minimum standards in terms of safety, then you're right, that's what I was saying.

Could you address with a little more definition perhaps areas other than safety where you would not be insisting that existing buildings be brought up to a new code? In general the building code has always dealt with those areas that involve safety, and the building code originally, as I understand it, was designed to deal with anything that could come under the category of safety.

Now that the building code has been expanded for new buildings to cover the energy and the other aspects that we've also talked about this afternoon, energy conservation, I think there has to be a very clear delineation on the part of the ministry with existing buildings, because if I do own an apartment building, in the long run it may be worthwhile for me to invest in new energy-conserving windows or a new type of heating system, but I just don't have the money to do that.

Would you be willing to put a very clear delineation about where this Bill 112 will apply to existing buildings? Otherwise I think it has the potential for being very unfair to existing property owners. Also, you don't have the money in the ministry and the municipalities don't have the money in their municipal budgets to provide the staff in the kind of numbers that would be necessary to go out to existing buildings and say, "You know, we've got this new building code here and you're supposed to have this kind of energy conservation furnace and these other kinds of measures that are supposed to be part now of existing buildings."

I just feel that has a very grave potential for implications because, first of all, it would be very costly to enforce, but also I think it would be unjust not to protect existing buildings in areas other than safety. Would you be willing to find out whether your minister would be willing to have a definition that protected existing property owners from undue requirements other than safety?

Ms Harrington: I think you've hit upon a very important point that we will be hearing, I'm sure, again tomorrow. It is a concern, I understand. There are two main points to answer that. First of all, it is not going to be laid upon people; it is going to be worked out over a period of time with all the people involved and the municipalities.

The question of enforcement: We do not want to download and put extra burdens on them. As you know, they had complained for a couple of years about that happening. That's a realistic thing, that we deal with the enforcement, who is going to do it, and the whole consultation process, as to what is going to be included.

The other main point is that we have to be realistic, and I think that's exactly what you're telling me. You can't do the impossible. You may want to have extremely high standards, but you can only do what is possible. That's what this whole process of developing regulations will be, to look at the reality out there. As George mentioned a few minutes ago, the question of aesthetics, the appearance of the yard or the building, doesn't seem like an appropriate thing to be included.

That's the kind of thing we will be discussing, finding out what is a realistic minimal level. I'm not prepared at this point to say what things are going to be looked at, because that is part of the process we will be going through. All I can tell you is there'll be extensive working together on this and, obviously, it will have to be very realistic.

Mrs Marland: I don't take much comfort in your response, Margaret, because when you say it's something that will have to be worked out --

Ms Harrington: This is only enabling legislation. I thought I made that very clear. It cannot say these things in the bill. It is an enabling framework for the regulations, so we cannot do that in the bill.

Mrs Marland: I know, but this is even scarier.

Interjection: That's your point.

Mrs Marland: The point I want to make is, when you say you're going into this whole consultation process as to what will be included in the regulations, that just blows my mind. A lot of the difficulty we had with the rent control bill was that, here in committee, in committee of the whole, in second and third reading debate in the House, we could only deal with what was printed in the bill, but most of our concerns were with what we anticipated might be done through regulation.

Maybe your reply will be enhanced in the next couple of days, but if you're not willing -- no, I won't say that, because I have respect for you personally. If you're not able to give the kind of assurance I'm looking for on behalf of existing buildings and property owners -- by the way, I gave an example of an apartment building; I'm not an apartment building owner -- then I'm serving notice now that I will place a formal amendment on behalf of our caucus to ensure that existing buildings are protected from a new building code which includes matters other than safety.

Having said that, in the design and construction of new buildings, I support these other things very much, because I think they're ultimately to the benefit of the property owner if they're energy-efficient. Also, it's a benefit to all of us if we conserve energy. I think when you say it's all going to be left to the consultation process and it'll be dealt with in regulations, then that doesn't give me any peace of mind.

You mentioned the aesthetics of a building. I'm not concerned about the aesthetics of a building, and I'll tell you why. Under the Municipal Act, municipalities have the power to pass a property standards bylaw, and I leave that up to the elected officials at the municipal level. If a building is aesthetically unacceptable, residents and taxpayers in that municipality can go to their councillors, and if they don't have a property standards bylaw, they can ask them to pass one and enforce it. So that stuff isn't part of this discussion at all, I would say.

Ms Harrington: No, I was giving an example of one thing that was not part of this or that reasonably and rationally would not be included.

Mrs Marland: I know.


Ms Harrington: What I'm saying is that you have to give those people who over many years have developed regulations for us some credit that this process is going to work in a rational and reasonable way.

Mrs Marland: Yes, but what I'm saying to you is that's not a very good example. The aesthetics of a building don't need to be discussed at a provincial level because there is power under the Municipal Act for them to be dealt with there. That's not a good example because it's not something we even need to discuss here, because there's jurisdiction elsewhere. I'm simply saying, let's discuss the things that are going to be included in Bill 112 and the people who are going to be impacted by Bill 112. When you are including existing buildings, you've got to be very clear that it's fair and it's realistic.

I heard what you said about addressing the enforcement, which is an issue in itself in terms of millions of dollars of cost, but I would not be happy unless you can give us some assurance in answer to a question -- maybe you want to discuss it with the ministry overnight and give us an answer tomorrow. But unless you can answer that question in the affirmative, that you would exempt existing buildings from sections of this code, other than those dealing with safety, then I will place an amendment to that effect.

Ms Harrington: Okay, I think we would like to clarify that for you, if we can. I thought I had tried. We are talking about process, about how this minimum standard will be developed. That's how I see it. If George could help me out a bit further -- could you clarify it for Ms Marland?

Mr Wildish: Mrs Harrington has given a good explanation. I just want to underline one aspect, and I precede that by saying, as she's already said, this is all subject to negotiation and I'm not giving you a final answer by any stretch of the imagination. But you mentioned in your earlier remarks a concern that older buildings, built some years ago, were perhaps allowed to decay a bit and might be required to come up to current-day standards. Of course, it would not be building code current-day standards. It would be similar to fire retrofit standards, with which I suppose you are familiar.

Mrs Marland: That's a safety thing. I am familiar --

Mr Wildish: So the standards are lower than existing code levels. They're as low as we can live with comfortably.

Mrs Marland: Right.

Mr Wildish: It's that level which everybody would be happy to agree on, that that's as low as a building should be allowed to go. Those are the kinds of mandatory standards that would be in place for existing buildings.

You were right, in your further remarks, that some poor-shape buildings would be below those levels. There are bound to be some. In the distribution curve, there are going to be a few that are down there, and they will be the ones that won't be able to get by with the 2% allowance and the 3% allowance because they are so bad. That's the problem area you've been talking about. The big bulk of buildings will of course be adequately taken care of by the 2% and the 3% under rent control, no question about that.

You've mentioned safety, and of course that's a key area. We're interested in the safety of the buildings, and other kinds of factors probably -- and I stress probably, because again this is all to be negotiated -- would not be as important in this process. But we are trying to draw together in existing buildings -- that is the proposal -- all the things dealing with existing buildings. You know, consolidation again is part of the process. Does that add any clarity at all to this?

Mrs Marland: I do have more comments, but I'd like Mr Tilson to have an opportunity.

The Chair: Please go ahead.

Mr Tilson: One of my questions dealt on this specific point of changing regulations, the process of changing negotiation. You've talked about subject negotiation with different interested parties, I suppose, that sort of thing.

As I understand it, the whole process, for example, that we've got into with the government -- and I rarely like to congratulate the government, but I will with respect to its changing its philosophy as far as the graded lumber in farm buildings is concerned, although I hope there'll be some more clarification of that. As I understand the negotiation process, the Ontario Building Code is based on the national building code. The national building code is revised every five years. The Ontario Building Code is revised in the process every two years, give or take, and there are a number of committees that are set up during this whole process -- I guess it's a continuous process -- to develop regulatory changes. These changes are then sent out in a process of consultation to this long list you talk about, whether it's building companies, architectural people, whoever is on the list, and then on top of that, the ministry goes out on the road, holding seminars and talking about these types of changes. Then it goes back to the minister and there's more discussion.

So there's quite a process, as I understand it. I'm probably oversimplifying it, as is my wont sometimes. And they're very technical, probably more technical than the members of this committee, with all due respect, could talk about. Well, maybe some of the members are experienced in building regulations, but I can tell you that I'm not.

What bothers me -- and it got into the innocent little fencing that was going on between Ms Harrington and Ms Poole over who was to blame over this graded lumber and farm buildings -- I'm certain that this subject was debated during this negotiation process over changes of where we're going. I can't believe it wasn't discussed, and if it wasn't discussed, how in the heck did it slip through?

That's my fear: that the so-called negotiation process you're talking about has some major flaws in it, particularly when you're talking about finally getting back to the question on the fear that standards of existing buildings would allow future changes without further consultation by the public or adequate consultation by the public.

I guess I give probably the very example we'll hear in this hearing is this major goof on graded lumber for farm buildings. I suspect that's one of the major reasons why we're here. That's a major example of how the consultation process doesn't work. I wonder if you could comment on that.

Ms Harrington: Well, you certainly are a good lawyer.

Mr Tilson: No, I didn't mean it as that; I'm just saying there's a hole in the system.

Ms Harrington: That makes some sense. I'm not that familiar with the process of the regulation development, and I hope, George, that you are. If you would like to comment on the process, I don't know if you can answer that one example of what happened back then.

Mr Wildish: I can bring a little light. One of the questions raised before -- I think Mrs Poole raised this question before -- was on the code development process, the cycle we go through. We brought along a little handout we'll leave with you that describes the cycle. It has a flow chart that shows who gets what when. This is here for you to take away if you wish, and it will explain the cycle to you and I hope give you some confidence in the way that cycle works. We'll hand this around.

The specifics of your question about farm lumber I'm not a full expert in, and we may have to get you some more data on this, but I suggest to you maybe the idea that of the hundreds -- and I do mean hundreds and hundreds -- of reg changes that go through, we don't too often have one go astray. With this one, something did go astray. But as a general rule, hundreds of these things go through. The size of the book you're familiar with; it contains thousands of entries. There are hundreds of them changed each reg cycle, and we rely, it must be admitted, on the expert groups we have out there -- architects, engineers, builders, whatever -- to send in their comments to us, and then the hearings committees, made up of expert people to review them all, plus our own staff and so on, and the follow-up seminars when we go out to tell the public: "Here are the new changes that are coming up. Here's what's going to happen to you down the line." We go around the countryside doing these. Hopefully we pick them all up. One maybe fell through the cracks here. The reasons why it fell through the cracks I'm not expert enough in this case to tell you. We can certainly investigate what happened, I suppose, for you.


Mr Tilson: Things happen, for whatever reason. I'm asking this question of either you or Ms Harrington; perhaps it's more appropriate of Ms Harrington. This is an example, when you start relying on changing systems by regulation to such things as standards for existing buildings, of a major goof. It's over. The regulation's passed before anybody can pick it up. In other words, it missed this consultation process.

I don't know whether the consultation process is adequate or not. It sounds pretty detailed. I haven't had a chance to look at this. My point is that on major changes such as this, is it appropriate to rely on the regulatory process? That's really what it gets down to.

Ms Harrington: I think overall it has worked extremely well. There are regulations in many bills and different ministries. You have picked an example that I think I would concede is somehow a small one but a telling one. I would like to invite you to be part of that process.

Mr Tilson: I don't want to be part of this process, because I'd be out all year. That's one way to get me out of the House; I couldn't take shots at you. I don't mean to be flippant about it. It's a very detailed process and I'm not so sure that every regulation needs to come through a bill; I'm not saying that. But there are major changes such as this that perhaps would be more appropriate if they did come through in bills. I'm just asking that question. That's really all I'm putting forward.

The Chair: Mr Hansen had a question related to the same issue, if he could put that at this time, Ms Marland.

Mr Ron Hansen (Lincoln): It's actually Margaret's comments on the existing buildings. This is a question on these accessory apartments going in, that there's a certain height requirement for a ceiling in a new apartment, especially in the basement. If you're going to take the old property standards, would one of these new apartments, on remodelling, be able to go into one of these older homes that, say, has a six-foot basement and is not the required height? What standard would be followed here? I think this is what you're talking about: Which one? Do we take the lower standard that was in existence when that home was built or do we take today's new standard when putting in an accessory apartment?

Mrs Marland: Is that safe?

Mr Hansen: Well, you have your entranceway. All that's there because you're remodelling, and you have your own washroom and your own kitchen facilities; but in the basement on the height.

Ms Harrington: You are talking about how, over the next few years when we do have standards for existing buildings, that will impact on this basement unit that you're talking about?

Mr Hansen: Yes. In the older buildings the basements aren't as high as the ones they built after 1953.

Ms Harrington: Okay, it will be a minimum standard -- that's my understanding -- for existing buildings. Right now, if you're renovating your house and putting in another apartment unit, you would have to get a building permit and adhere to the standards that are here now because that's a renovation.

Mr Hansen: But in an existing building; I think this is what Margaret's question is and it's my question also. I had a building, an older one built in 1928, that had a basement where I could hardly walk around. It was six feet. So therefore, for the existing building built in 1928, that was a standard basement and that was the height. This is what I'm wondering: What do we do in those instances so we're covered later on, so there's no confusion out there for people who want to put in a basement apartment? If it's only six feet high and you say the existing requirements at that time for a basement were that, it would be a basement apartment.

Ms Harrington: If you are going to make that space into an apartment, you would have to go through the existing bylaws and necessary standards now. Then, later on, when the standards for existing buildings are developed, it would be a minimum standard, I presume, and you could fit into it. But your standard to build now you would have to go through as usual, as you would have for many years.

Mr Hansen: I'm still sort of confused.

Mr Tilson: Ask it again.

Mr Hansen: As it is, in the city of Welland -- that's where this building was -- I would not be allowed to put in a basement apartment because the city has said, "No, it has to be a certain height." But now you come along with the regulations here. You want to put in this basement apartment. We talk about what was existing in 1928; would it be allowed? So there's no confusion out there in the public. Maybe everybody understands, but all of a sudden somebody reads it a little bit different and I just want to take that confusion out. That basement apartment would not be able to go in with that building permit, because it wouldn't be up to today's standards for a basement apartment -- not the building itself, the height of that existing basement. Do you follow me?

Ms Harrington: You couldn't put it in if it didn't meet today's standards.

Mrs Marland: Pardon? I didn't hear the answer, I'm sorry.

Ms Harrington: If he was to try to put it in now, he couldn't put it in unless it met today's standards.

Mr Hansen: I'll give it give back to Margaret.

Mrs Marland: Okay, because I think this is a really good example and it's a very important question that Mr Hansen is asking. An existing basement is just that: It's an existing basement. There's no way people can realistically go to the cost of digging up the concrete floor and deepening the volume of space so you have added height.

I don't understand your answer to Mr Hansen's question either. I understand his question very well, but I don't understand the answer. If your government wants basement apartments, how is it going to happen if you're not going to give an allowance for existing buildings? Is that height requirement in the bill, Ron?

Mr Hansen: I don't think so. I just know the city of Welland has a certain height requirement.

Mrs Marland: The question I think you have to be able to answer -- maybe you need to have the staff look at it overnight to get the proper answer, in fairness to you. The question is: Is there a requirement for a minimum ceiling height to do with overall volume of space in terms of safety? That may be part of the argument, I don't know. But I think that's a very good question and I think we need a clear answer to it.

Ms Harrington: Did you feel there are any answers in here?

Mr Wildish: I think the new apartments you get -- the apartments-in-the-houses bill lays out what's going to be allowable in conversions of basements to apartments. They are not identical, of course, with what a new building code building would require. This is not in effect yet, of course, but when it comes into effect this will govern conversions.

Mrs Marland: Does it mention ceiling height, apropos the question?

Mr Wildish: Yes, ceiling heights. Perhaps for tomorrow, we could identify this paragraph and so on.

Mrs Marland: Sure.

Mr Hansen: I just used that as an example because I couldn't think of anything else in the building of coming up to standards.

There could be another question here too. With the use of the low-flow toilets -- now you put renovations on the house, you add a section on. In this building permit, to put this new washroom, the existing washroom might be turned into a larger living room. Would you be able to move the existing plumbing from the old washroom into the new washroom? There are certain time frames when you're building a new home or remodelling, but it's not clear whether you can transfer -- maybe the toilet is not broken, but you want to use the low-flow -- not buy a new toilet, but use your existing one.

These are some questions I think people out there who are remodelling will have to know. Maybe it's written in somewhere. I've read quite a bit, but I haven't come across it as yet. Maybe some of these issues we can talk about -- older homes. We've got a lot of old stock out there and a lot of people would be very upset if they found out they couldn't move their bathtub and everything else over into the new washroom.

Mrs Marland: They can't afford new fixtures, but for any number of economic reasons they're having to build an addition instead of buying a new house.

Mr Hansen: Just for clarification --

Mr Wildish: Existing fixtures sometimes are allowed to remain, because the existing plumbing lines can't handle new low-flow fixtures, for example. The grade in the size of the piping isn't adequate. In general though, plumbing doesn't allow any reductions such as a renovation does for buildings. As you know, if you're renovating a building, you don't adhere to the very top level of building code requirements. There's a little break given as long as you don't make the building worse than it was and maintain the existing standard with which the building was built in the first place. There's a little bit of leeway in there for the building official to negotiate with.


That doesn't generally apply to plumbing, because with plumbing you can't drop the standard. It has got to be put in safely. But the use of existing fixtures, I think, is a different matter. There is some stuff written on that and perhaps we can provide that for you tomorrow as well. It certainly sets it out for you.

Mr Hansen: Thank you.

Ms Harrington: I just want to make one comment. For the first time in Canada, the Ontario plumbing code will regulate fixture flow rates and the requirements will be phased in over the next four years. So I imagine if you were caught in that, you would not be able to use those fixtures. If you were doing renovations, you would have to have the low flow, if you got within that time frame.

Mr Hansen: I understand quite a bit of that bill because I introduced a private member's bill on the use of low-flow toilets and showerheads in Ontario, but after I read the regulations, I had a little bit of confusion with the remodelling. As I say, you get a permit from the town and you're remodelling, you're putting an addition on. The slope of the new washroom could be changed at that time, because the new addition going on to the house would have to meet the new standards. Could you take an old fixture and put it in a new part of the house?

Mr Wildish: In general, the answer is no.

Mrs Marland: Can I just be very clear that the four-year phase-in requirement to meet this type of plumbing standard is only in new buildings? We're not talking about retrofit?

Mr Wildish: Not retrofit, no, but if you're doing an extension and renovation in the building, then the new part will meet the new standard.

Mrs Marland: So you are saying in four years' time you're not going to have a choice about what kind of plumbing fixture to put in the addition to your existing house.

Mr Wildish: The existing plumbing lines may not handle low flow, so you wouldn't have to put in one of the new low-flow toilets in that situation, because the grade and the size of the piping wouldn't be adequate to deal with one of the new low-flow toilets.

Mrs Marland: So the phase-in is really for new buildings, because obviously an addition isn't going to change the existing plumbing lines.

Mr Hansen: But we're talking about a complete addition put on the house that would be a new part of that house. It juts out the back. The plumbing that would go in there would wind up all new plumbing and the addition would have to be built to today's standards. The person couldn't take his old toilet from the other part of the house and put it over in the new addition. A new toilet would have to go in there. That new section would be covered under the new building requirements. There could be a lot of confusion for people out there.

The Chair: Some of us should get into the business of toilets, I sense. There were a couple of other people who wanted to put some questions out.

Mrs Marland: Okay, I'll just finish, Mr Chairman. I want to really emphasize my concern that the answer I've heard today is that this major area of existing buildings is subject to negotiation, and that's not satisfactory to us. So we'll look for some revision to that from the ministry. Maybe after they've discussed it a little further, they might be able to come up with their own definition in certain categories as it pertains to existing buildings. Thank you.

Mr Anthony Perruzza (Downsview): I just wanted to touch on a couple of things, and they may in fact have been cleared up. I want to follow on some of the things that Mrs Marland was saying earlier about the role of the chief municipal building officials and how they are essentially responsible for standards and they essentially provide security for people in the sense that they're the watchdogs to ensure that buildings are built to appropriate standards.

Mrs Marland: Well, they're the signature on the building permit.

Mr Perruzza: Yes, and what Mrs Marland was speaking to, if I understand her correctly, and maybe I can ask her the question, were the provisions in the act which would allow builders or people to go out and hire their own professionals to certify building plans and to submit them for approval, or in fact to proceed with the construction of the projects.

I believe, if I understood Mrs Marland correctly, she was saying, "Please don't do that because these are the people who are involved in the preparation of the documents, of the plans, of the working drawings etc, and they shouldn't be the same people certifying them for building purposes." Correct? Is that what I heard you say?

Mrs Marland: Yes. We don't have any disagreement on my position on that. With the parliamentary assistant, I also left open the caveat that I'm looking forward to hearing tomorrow the argument about why we should consider certified professionals, but today I'm not happy to remove the responsibility of the municipality for issuing the building permit.

Mr Perruzza: It was precisely that, because the way I thought about it was, if someone does that and the building or the construction of the building is continually monitored by inspectors, then obviously if someone is doing something that's either inappropriate or doesn't conform to standards, at that point the inspectors could issue orders to comply or can have the approvals revoked. To me, what this provision would do is streamline the process a little bit and be able to expedite the issuance of permits.

Mrs Marland: May I just respond, through the Chair, to Mr Perruzza? The role of the building inspector is to ensure that the building that is being built complies with or follows the drawings, both the working drawings, the lot grading and everything else. The building permit is issued on the basis of this set of drawings. The builder takes the set of drawings and executes the construction of the building on the land as drawn.

The job of the building inspector is to ensure that the building that is being built meets the requirements of the drawings, the construction envelope, everything. The building inspector is not there looking at a building and trying to memorize all the building code on the spot, because he has the assurance that if he reads the drawing, he knows that the drawing has been certified in the building department before the building permit was ever issued. That's how it works.

The job of the building inspector is not to decide that the building is meeting the building code or to question the drawings. Excuse me; there are a lot of routine things that the building inspectors know without even looking at the drawings, whether the building is being built according to the building code. But no, I think what you're suggesting -- I prefaced my comments about the fact that it would be great to expedite the processing of building permits in the heavy construction seasons, through the spring, summer and fall. It's costly for people to wait for building permits, because the cost of construction goes up and they pay more taxes on the land and it costs them more to borrow the money to do their projects.


Mr Perruzza: I understand your concerns.

Mrs Marland: I still feel the responsibility has to lie with the municipality to issue the building permit and to give the certification that the case requires.

The Chair: Can I just interject here? I think the issue is clear and it's been indicated there may be some comment on this tomorrow when we come back for clause-by-clause. I would allow Mr Perruzza just a brief comment, but I would like to get Mr Lessard in before 5, when we were going to retire until tomorrow.

Mr Perruzza: My concerns aren't as serious with that particular provision. Ultimately, I think the chief building official is responsible for construction and to ensure that whatever construction takes place, wherever it takes place, conforms to the required codes. If it doesn't, then obviously they have powers to ensure that that happens, and if an architect or an engineer who is retained privately to ensure that is responsible, then that person, I suspect, at the end of the day would be liable for the corrections.

There is something I am far more interested in and that does concern me with this bill. It's on page 6 of the bill. It's the conditional permit provision. There's a reference here to sections 34 and 38 of the Planning Act. I don't have that in front of me. If this particular provision could be addressed with that reference and if we could get a copy of those two sections or a copy of the Planning Act, I think it's something we really need to take a close look at in conjunction with this particular bill.

What this provision would in fact do is, for me, put the cart before the horse in terms of the approval processes and the permit issuance process with respect to communities and local community concerns. Quite frankly, if this section does what I think it does, then big-money builders have an overwhelming advantage.

The Chair: Which section was that?

Mr Perruzza: It's section 3 on page 6, the conditional permit of Bill 112.

Mr Tilson: Subsection 8(3).

Mr Perruzza: Right, yes, subsection 8(3). If I can leave that out there, I'd like this section to be addressed.

Mr Wayne Lessard (Windsor-Walkerville): I was interested, and I know my wife would be interested as well, in the provisions that deal with the inspections by board of health members, being as she's a member of the health inspection division at the health unit in Windsor. As I understood Mr Wildish's comments, the legislation provides for boards of health to continue to do the inspections that they're doing now, and as I read subsection 32(3), it talks about agreements that could be entered between counties and the local boards of health to provide such inspections.

My wife tells me that now she does some inspections with respect to restaurants that involve the plumbing code, and she was under the understanding that she wouldn't have to continue to do this, but that doesn't seem to be the case from my reading of the proposed bill. I wonder if you had some comment about that.

Mr Wildish: In the past, municipalities have been able to make agreements with the county about enforcement. Perhaps the county would enforce plumbing for the whole county, all the municipalities in the county, or sometimes an individual municipality could make an agreement with the local health unit. Those kinds of things are still all possible under the new act. It provides for all those kinds of agreements, so the health unit can be in charge of plumbing inspection. That will carry on. Agreements and arrangements like this will remain in effect until the county councils write new bylaws, so they will carry over. There is that grandfathering provision.

Mr Lessard: Does this apply to cities as well? Because the situation I'm talking about is in the city of Windsor, not part of a county.

Mr Wildish: They can make an agreement with a health unit, I think.

Mr Lessard: So they would have to make an agreement for there to be any change. There's not any change that's anticipated as a result of this legislation, then.

Mr Wildish: The existing ones will carry over until the county -- you have to look at the exact wording there. I think it says that until the county makes the change in bylaw, the existing agreements will carry on.

Mr Lessard: All right. My other question has to deal with the definition of "unsafe." I think that was section 10. This is the expansion of buildings being unsafe. One of the definitions is, if it's in a condition that could result in damage to neighbouring buildings or lands. I sort of read that in conjunction with section 10 as well, which talks about the change-of-use provisions and that there shouldn't be any change of use if there is a hazard as determined under the building code. I guess what I'm interested in knowing is what sort of situation might result in damage to land. Does that really open up some restrictions on change of use in cases where there might be some environmental considerations?

Mr Wildish: When issuing a change-of-use permit, the building official will be obliged to consider all applicable law, as it says in the act, and if one of those applicable laws happens to be an environmental law he will have to, by contact, presumably, with the environmental agencies, get their acquiescence, "Yes, this proposed change is all right," or else of course certain construction or fans or whatever is going to be required to take care of it. Does that answer your question?

Mr Lessard: When you say compliance with the law, I'm not sure whether non-compliance with the law means that it's a hazard. I wonder if that's what you're saying.

Mr Wildish: The question is that an owner proposes to change some occupation from, say, an office to a printing plant or whatever. The printing plant has fumes and such and requires, under various laws, whether it's labour or environment or whatever, exhaust fans and so on to remove these fumes. Naturally, that's the law that would have to be complied with, and so he couldn't get the permit. He'd have to go and get a renovation permit because now he's going to have to install fans or maybe put in some fume closets or whatever he has to do to make this new room comply with the codes.

Mr Lessard: All right. What about the definition of "unsafe" and that being damage to land? What sort of damage to land might be contemplated by that section?

Mr Wildish: The original thinking about this particular point was that a building could be in very rough condition, one way or another, and a brick or something could fall from it or fly from it in the wind and damage a neighbouring property. You can get into some situations where snow swirling around one tall building can impact on its neighbour and cause trouble. Rainwater can run off -- that's covered in the act -- and it can affect the neighbouring property. There are some difficulties with this particular legislation. I believe we may have some more to say later in the week with regard to this point. It's a point well taken.


The Chair: There are a couple of housekeeping matters I want to raise with the committee members. But before I do that, Ms Marland just wanted to make a few comments. I'm sorry; Ms Harrington. Excuse me; too many Margarets here.

Ms Harrington: First of all, as to some of the technical details you had, Mr Hansen, with regard to the heights and the plumbing, I just realized that Mr Arlani is here, who is one of our expert people. I would refer you directly to him if you would like to get a little more expert and detailed answer.

Mr Hansen: I think it would be important if he would respond to the committee, because other members also would like to hear the answers.

Ms Harrington: Okay.

The Chair: Perhaps tomorrow there may be some time at the conclusion of the witnesses' testimony. We had the cancellation -- the last group is now moved up to 3:30 -- so if there are some other comments like that, it might be an appropriate place if that's agreeable and people are going to be here.

Ms Harrington: My other question to the committee was whether you would like the additional answers and clarifications that you requested in writing, or would you prefer to set aside some time at the end of tomorrow's proceedings to hear from staff on that?

The Chair: Perhaps Ms Poole and Ms Marland would care to --

Ms Poole: I think it would be excellent to have it in writing if that is possible; I don't know.

Ms Harrington: I'll just ask staff, though, when that could be ready.

Ms Alexandra Samuel: I think all of our --

The Chair: I'm sorry, could you please come forward and identify yourself.

Ms Samuel: I'm Alexandra Samuel. I'm Margaret's executive assistant in the Ministry of Housing. As you can see, most of our buildings branch staff are here for the next day along with the rest of you, so if you wanted written answers we could certainly provide them for you at the beginning of next week. Otherwise, when Mr Arlani addresses these more technical problems tomorrow afternoon, perhaps at that time Margaret might also have a few more words to say as sort of preliminary answers. Would that be helpful?

Ms Poole: That would be very helpful and if we can have it some time around -- I guess Labour Day is Monday, so Tuesday or Wednesday. That would give us a few days before we go into clause-by-clause.

The Chair: When those are prepared they could be sent to the clerk's office and then she will distribute them. Yes, Ms Marland?

Mrs Marland: The most critical question I need an answer to very quickly, so that I know whether I need to prepare an amendment, is whether the minister is willing to give a very clear delineation of which sections of this act will apply to existing buildings, or would she be willing to give an exemption for all sections except those pertaining to safety.

Ms Harrington: I will personally speak with you as soon as I can with regard to that.

The Chair: Okay. If I could just make one point, we're starting tomorrow at 10 o'clock. I'd like to get some indication from the committee, because we will be having groups coming, if we can begin at 10 o'clock sharp regardless of exactly how many people are here. I will try to make sure we have somebody from each caucus, but given that people are coming from various places, perhaps we could start at 10 o'clock, if that's agreeable.

As I said, the group that was to come at 3:30 tomorrow isn't coming. The 4 o'clock group is coming at 3:30, so if there are some other questions -- sorry, just to repeat: The group that was to come at 3:30 tomorrow is not coming, the Toronto-Central Ontario Building and Construction Trades Council. The Price Club, which was to have come at 4:00, is now coming at 3:30. We can deal with Mr Hansen's question then at the completion of the Price Club presentation.

Ms Poole: In an attempt to be helpful, Mr Chair, if Mrs Marland takes a look on page 25 of Bill 112 -- it's subsection 34(2) -- it delineates there about the existing buildings, so it's fairly specific on this. It isn't just those buildings in unsafe condition. I believe that was the previous legislation and now this has got a much broader scope.

Mrs Marland: I know, but that's my question. I don't need to be told that. With respect, that's the whole essence of my concern.

The Chair: I think that's understood and the parliamentary assistant is going to get a response to your question.

I would then adjourn the committee until 10 o'clock tomorrow morning. The clerk reminds me: 10 o'clock sharp.

The committee adjourned at 1706.